Cranes at dawn from the blind at the Rowe Sanctuary

Cranes at dawn from the blind at the Rowe Sanctuary

Sandhill cranes on the Platte River at sunrise

Sandhill cranes on the Platte River at sunrise

“Soon after the sun fires the horizon, the crane armies rise in stupendous celebration, crossing the black winter trees along the river . . . . an exaltation of life . . . when the sandhills rose in thunder, swirling and climbing and parting into wisps and strands in the fiery suffusions of the sunrise.”  — Peter Matthiessen, The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes

Yesterday morning we got up at 4:30 a.m. to drive in the dark to the Rowe Sanctuary, where we had reserved space in one of their blinds on the Platte River.  We waited as quietly as possible for the sunrise, and then saw the cranes come to life.  They left the river in small groups, headed for the corn fields and their day of fattening up.

This was definitely a multi-sensory experience.  The cranes vocalized nonstop from our arrival before dawn.  Thousands of crane voices, rising to the new day.  Wonderful.