Album Wildlife

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wsp_scott

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The annual migration of 3/4 million Sandhill Cranes to the Platte River in Central Nebraska is underway. They stay for about 6 weeks fattening up on their way to their summer home in the arctic. They congregate along about a hundred mile stretch of the River between Grand Island and Kearney. It's an impressive sight. This year I decided to rent a spot in a blind for an opportunity to see them up closer. They generally will not tolerate your presence closer than about 100 yards. My blind reservation coincided with a snow storm which dropped about 6 inches locally over about 12 hours. It made getting there a little more challenging.

This photo was taken in the evening during a period of heavier snowfall from the viewing area by the Gibbon bridge. The dark mass in the water beginning near the center of the picture and extending to the right edge are Sandhill Cranes standing on a submerged sand bar in the Platte River. The birds spend the daylight hours feeding on fallen corn in nearby fields and then come to the river in the evening to stand in the water overnight. Experts believe this is a defensive strategy against predators.
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This was taken from the blind about 1/2 hour before sunrise.
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I had hoped that we would be closer to the birds in the blind. It turned out to be about 30 yards to the closest ones. But that was way closer than I've ever been before. The following photos have been cropped a lot but all in all I'm happy with how they turned out.
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This was taken after the birds left the River for breakfast. Just thought it was a pretty view with the snow.
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Cool photos, going to show my kids in the morning and then they can do some internet research on Sandhill Cranes :)

What's the deal with renting a blind? Is this a duck blind (for hunting)? Is renting blinds a common thing?
 

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TractorDoc

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Aug 21, 2018
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Some backyard wildlife for this post.

Every year a pair of Canada Geese return to our pond to build a nest -- nearly always in the same location. Yesterday I noticed the female had a visitor while keeping the eggs warm. I cannot decide if they are looking at me or each other; I was quite a distance away.

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Her companion did not seem concerned a short distance away.

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While watching the geese I noticed movement on the pond surface. Another critter was active and swimming in my direction.

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He/she reminded me of when I thought I was seeing beavers in Yellowstone's Beaver Pond(s). Then, like now, the furry creature was actually a muskrat.

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In addition to the geese, turtles, and muskrats there are a number of Wood Ducks that make the pond their home. They have proven tricky to photograph as they are shy and usually fly into the trees when I walk up to the pond. Even after sitting (very still) at the pond's edge for an hour they chose to keep their distance and I could only get a couple semi-focused shots. I'll keep trying!

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