Thursday, March 10, 2011

From The Good Life - Sandhill Cranes

Tim and I love to take day trips. March in Nebraska brings the Sandhill Cranes. We saw them from a distance a couple of years ago but have never been up close and personal with the cranes. Saturday morning we set out for Grand Island, about 2 hours west of Omaha. We made a quick stop for Starbucks in York. Tim noticed the sky off to the west was full of birds. Just down a gravel road to the west of Starbucks, remember this is Nebraska, we found the Snow Geese. Certainly the largest flock of geese I have ever seen.

Back on I-80, headed west to Grand Island, we decided to try and find one of the cranes viewing sites outlined on Outdoor Nebraska. Just off the interstate, we started to see cranes and more cranes. I heard on the news last week they estimate the numbers right now at about 500,000 thousand. At their peak, in a couple of weeks, the numbers will be close to a million. Besides their characteristic flight, one of the most interesting things about the cranes is their song. We drove a 2 - 3 mile radius of gravel roads and found many different flocks of birds. Some were just a few birds and some numbered in the hundreds.

Wherever we travel, we enjoy trying local wines. We headed north to St. Paul, Nebraksa and Miletta Vista Winery. The winery is a few miles outside of town and has the most beautiful view of the Loop River Valley. We tried a couple of whites and three reds. Our choice was the Work Horse Red. Heading back southeast, we visited Prairie Creek Vineyards. The view here, not quite the same. This vineyard sits on a corner of flat farmland. Here we tried three whites and two reds. This time we chose a white, Sweet Ass White! (Yes, that's the name of the wine).

We decided to continue on Highway 92 rather than take I-80 all the way back to Omaha. We were hoping to find a quaint local restaurant on our drive home. As we drove through the town of Seward, we saw the Cafe on the Square. The curb appeal was nice. I googled and they had a website. Good curb appeal and a website, okay I am game. It was in a building dating back to 1890. Tim chose a delicious mac 'n cheese. For me, it was a hearty meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. Bird watching makes me hungry or was it the wine tasting?

What a fun, relaxing Saturday. I would encourage anyone who has the chance to see the Sandhill Cranes to do so!


  1. What amazingly huge flocks, Julie. Sounds like a perfect day to me!

  2. What perfect adventure you two enjoyed. Thank you for all the information about the cranes. Didn't know too much these majestic creatures; they are truly spectacular.

  3. A perfect day!! thank you for sharing, have a great week!

  4. Sounds like a great day. My family is from Kearney, so I've been out to see them as well. It's amazing!

  5. Great pictures, sounds like a fun Saturday! Nice trip!

  6. I saw the Sandhill Cranes 5 years ago on the Platte River in NE. Wow. They are stunning birds and that experience is still fresh in my mind.

    When I lived in Michigan (their other flyway), we would see them in the fields occasionally on my drive to/from the University. They always made my day :) Thanks for sharing your experiences.


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