Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wandering in Nebraska

We left Lincoln about 9:30 am yesterday, traveling west in Nebraska to learn more about the Sandhill Cranes that migrate through Nebraska this time of year. Our first stop was a Nebraska Visitor Center at Exit 305 of I-80 near the town of Alda.

Many museums will have a map on which visitors can mark their home location. Someone from Saint Paul had already been there, so I looked at the European map and was pleased and surprised to see evidence from visitors from Central Europe.

We enjoyed the short video, actually from the International Crane Center in Wisconsin about Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes.

The Center had a large visual display, made from both paintings and photographs about the Sandhill Cranes and other birds that migrate through this area.

The Visitor Center had a diorama with the Sandhill Cranes displayed.
 There is a small electronic display that illustrates the flyways.

We left the building to take a short walk out to the Platte River. Our walk there was well supervised by a herd of cattle in the property next door, including this cute little calf.

Since we were visiting at mid-day when the cranes are out feeding, what we saw was basically the Platte River.

From here we followed a rural country road along the Platte River. We saw many birds feeding in the corn fields. When they do this one basically sees a low line of gray-blue. From the distance the cranes on the ground are difficult to see, but one can surely hear them -- and that's is what you get below!

From the rural road we journeyed to Grand Island and had a late lunch at a rather cute restaurant called Freddy's. This is a small chain in this area of the United States, but not one I can find in Minnesota.

Then we went to the Stuhr Museum. Here we were greeted by some very friendly and noisy ducks.

The Stuhr is a county historical museum. It seems museum usually have old, traditional architecture. This building seems an unusual style for a county historical museum.

We went here especially to see an art exhibit related to birds. The art pieces were everything from photographs to paintings to wooden pieces.
Our next leg of the trip was a drive down to Hastings. Along this route we saw many cranes feedings in the fields and also some flocks beginning to collect for their flight to night quarters.

We enjoyed a coffee stop at the Blue Moon Coffee Shop. Then we headed back to Lincoln, arriving about 8 PM and enjoyed a temperature that still a bit more than 60 degrees F (16 C).

Easy to stay in the house today and do things like read student papers even though it's Spring Break week. The wind has turned to the north and rain is coming.

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