I arrived late in the day from Colorado to a road south of Kearney, Nebraska, paralleling the Platte River to view sandhill cranes feeding on waste corn in harvested fields. When they are near a river they feed on a variety of invertebrates and plant tubers since a mixed diet is important for them. My visit is toward the end of their mid-continent fly over stay here in Nebraska. Once fattened, they’ll be ready to fly to Canada, Alaska or Siberia. They roost in large concentrations in the river’s shallow waters by sandbars from approximately 8PM to 6AM, otherwise they are out in the fields eating all they can.
Some places I stopped at during my Nebraska time:
I love reading historical markers especially when they are on local roads. One of interest: the Martin Memorial. In 1864, two teenagers were struck by Sioux Indian arrows which pinned them together. Although falling from their horse and thought for dead, they did survive.
The Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center: The Crane Trust was established in 1978. The court-approved settlement was over the construction of Grayrocks Dam on a tributary of the Platte River 400 miles upriver in Wyoming. Concern for its impact on irrigation and wildlife downstream in Nebraska prompted a three-party settlement. Income from the endowment has established programs for scientific study and habitat management at this place. I loved seeing the current exhibit of photographs and watercolors of sandhill cranes. They have a gift shop, snack bar, and outside a bison heard and nature/hiking trail.
Continuing on local roads, north of the Platte River and Interstate 80, I drove about 40 miles of the Lincoln Highway, known as US Route 30, past huge grain bins, farms and through small towns, such as Wood River, Gibbon and Shelton. Fascinating seeing the towns and reading historical markers about the history of the area. It always fascinates me there is mention of people’s religion such as the Wood River sign below:
The road parallels railway tracks. I was watching a very long train carrying coal which I discovered in my wandering to arrive at the Platte Generating Station near Grand Island. I enjoyed driving the Lincoln Highway and stopped at one of the historical markers to have lunch. Have you read the book: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles? It’s a fun, fast-paced, thought-provoking, road-trip-sort-of-book to read, yet I read it before my trip.
Cottonmill Park: As I drove through Kearney, which is a good-sized town, I saw a sign, “Sister City is Opava, Czech Republic”. I love seeing global connections. Cottonmill is a city park with Canada geese owning the water! I caught a couple of them at conflict in these photos:
Eight seconds later the fight was over. Part 2 for my Nebraska time will be more mellow about and with photos of sandhill cranes. Stay tuned; it’ll arrive to you tomorrow! Have you clicked on the “follow” button so the posts come directly to your email? Don’t wait; time to do it! Till then …. Make it a great day!