Sandhill Cranes

2007-03-13, outside Kearney, NE.

The pictures are in sequential order, for the most part.
Quite the adventure, all around. During the day, we stood outside a field where they landed, and did not try to get very close.
At dusk, we went to the bridge which they fly over, which was recommended by the crane preservation people - it is actually quite far away from where they roost at night. This turns out to be a good thing, since the cranes feel protected when there are no people in the area. I think Nebraska is the only state where they are not hunted, so this makes sense from a crane's point of view.
The big kettle of cranes taking off was caused by one bald eagle. (It was soaring far above, and none of the pictures turned out.)
Unlike geese, the sandhills fly in bunches, but not in line. My guess is that they soar much more, and need a clean up-draft, so they spread out when in groups.
They will be around until April, but the week we went they are supposed to be at their peak in Nebraska. We went on a Tuesday, when there were very few people. The weekends are reputably horrendous.

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