Roger & Elke Edwards Digital Photograph Galleries

SANDHILL CRANES of NEBRASKA

...and Other Interesting Subjects along the Way

March 2007

Every year, around half a million sandhill cranes stop for a couple of weeks at the Platte River in south-central Nebraska, along their annual migration from the Gulf to Canada and Alaska. These large and extremely ancient birds roost together by the tens of thousands from around sunset to around sunrise in the sandy braided channel of the river. Their primordial, trumpeting cries travel for miles across the countryside, an amazing and almost overwhelming experience when in the midst of thousands, and an auditory trip back into a time millions of years before humans set up blinds to watch and photograph them. Yet they depend on our byproducts for their sustenance, specifically the corn left over from fall harvest and strewn all about hundreds of thousands of acres of farm fields in and near the river valley. The cranes fatten on this forage, fueling the remainder of their trek to subarctic summer spawning grounds.

Elke and I each had wanted to witness the spectacle for years, and finally got a chance. We had a couple of extra days off before my business trip to Lincoln in March, during the time the cranes set up camp in the river. Grateful for the opportunity, we witnessed one of the most bountiful wildlife spectacles outside the African Sernegeti. We appreciate the fine folks of the Rowe and Crane Meadows sanctuaries, who somehow had openings in their typically advanced-reserved blinds on separate days, and who accommodated us on short notice for our shoots.

I hope you enjoy the imagery, and if the chance to visit the sandhill crane gathering presents itself, do it. The sights and sounds will last for a lifetime.

    ===== Roger =====

Rising sun over the Platte River
Rising sun over the Platte River
Cranes flying overhead under overcast
Cranes flying overhead under overcast
Cranes afield, strolling away
Cranes afield, strolling away
Window in Holm Cabin, Blue Rapids KS
Window in the 1876 Holm Log Cabin, Blue Rapids KS
Silhouetted cranes in dusk flight
Silhouetted cranes in dusk flight
Riparian grassland habitat for Platte River wildlife
Riparian grassland habitat for Platte River wildlife
Historic Victorian house, Marysville KS
Historic Victorian house, Marysville KS
Sunrise on the foggy river with cranes
Sunrise on the foggy river with cranes
Flying flock of cranes against auburn sky
Flying flock of cranes against auburn sky
Tines of old
Tines of old
Nine cranes in flight
Nine cranes in flight
Sunset 'through' the clouds
Sunset "through" the clouds
Setting sun beyond the prairie river
Setting sun beyond the prairie river
Seedheads of riparian grass
Seedheads of riparian grass in early morning light
Multiply this by 70 miles of river...
Multiply this by 70 miles of river...
Window reflecting prairie home, Blue Rapids KS
Window reflecting prairie home, Blue Rapids KS
Cupola scene, Marysville KS
Cupola scene, Marysville KS
Check marks the cranes
Check marks the cranes, in dawn's light
Abandoned house, Prosser NE
Abandoned house, Prosser NE
Morning flight in formation
Morning flight in formation
Sandhill cranes arriving for sunset
Sandhill cranes arriving for sunset
Three cranes in the cornfield
Three cranes in the cornfield
Morning crane exodus to the farm fields
Morning crane exodus to the farm fields
More of the foggy river sunrise with cranes
More of the foggy river sunrise with cranes
Crane flock silhouetted against overcast -- rear view
Crane flock silhouetted against overcast -- rear view

____________________

Roger & Elke Edwards Digital Photo Galleries

All our photos are licensed through the stock photography arm of Insojourn Design and Images. Please inquire for rates and conditions.

Comments or requests? E-mail me using the address in the "captcha" below...