Crane Festival

Crane Festival Field Trips

Below is the field trip list for the 2018 festival. Watch this space for details of the 2019 trips.

All field trips leave from and return to the west entrance of the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney. (Field trip fees are in addition to festival registration.)

Guided Sandhill Crane Excursions to Rowe Sanctuary

On this guided trip you will experience the sights and the sounds of Sandhill Cranes roosting on the Platte River at Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary.

Morning trips will first go directly to Rowe Sanctuary. The group will walk to strategically placed viewing blinds to witness thousands of Sandhill Cranes on the river at sunrise, and then will watch cranes in the fields on the drive back to the hotel.

Afternoon trips will travel to Rowe Sanctuary and view Sandhill Cranes loafing in the fields on the way.  Once participants arrive at Rowe Sanctuary they will walk to the viewing blinds for a beautiful sunset view of cranes on the river.

Walking distances to the viewing blinds range from 1/4 to 1/2 mile over relatively level but unpaved terrain, with a portion of the walk occurring during very low light conditions (well before sunrise and well after sunset). Viewing blinds are wooden structures with carpeted floors that offer shelter from wind, rain, and snow, but are not heated and will be as cold as or colder than it is outside. Warm clothing (especially footwear) is strongly recommended.

Transportation is provided. If you are planning on using photography please note Rowe Sanctuary’s Photo Policy at http://rowe.audubon.org/visit/general-crane-tours.

Evening:

Thursday, March 22 - 4:30-9:00 pm

Friday, March 23 - 4:30-9:00 pm

Morning:

Friday, March 23 - 5:15-9:30 am

Saturday, March 24 - 5:15-9:30 am

Sunday, March 25 - 5:15-9:30 am

$60/person

Half-Day Birding Excursions:

1) Birding the Rainwater Basin

Enjoy a trip to birding hotspots in central Nebraska to view migrating ducks, geese, and other early migrants. Stops at prairie dog towns are also planned if time and weather allow. Routes for this trip will be determined close to the departure date in order to locate spots offering the best opportunity to see the most variety of birds.

Transportation is provided. Please note that viewing will take place both outdoors and in buses. Moderate walking will be involved on uneven terrain. Please dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes.

Thursday, March 22 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

Friday, March 23 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

2) Birding Rowe Sanctuary

Take a closer look at Rowe Sanctuary with a knowledgeable guide to see birds in various habitat types associated with the Platte River, including wetlands, wet meadows, grasslands, and riparian woodlands. This trip will also provide opportunities to view feeding and roosting Sandhill Cranes.

Routes for this trip will be determined close to the departure date in order to locate spots offering the best opportunity to see the most variety of birds.

Transportation is provided. Please note that viewing will take place both outdoors and in buses. Moderate walking will be involved on uneven terrain. Please dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes.

Thursday, March 22 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

Friday, March 23 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

Saturday, March 24 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

3) Birding the Platte River

Join a local guide to explore the Platte River Basin and associated wetlands, wet meadows, grasslands, and riparian woodlands. This trip will provide opportunities to watch Sandhill Cranes feeding and roosting.

Routes for this trip will be determined close to the departure date in order to locate spots offering the best opportunity to see the most variety of birds

Transportation is provided. Please note that viewing will take place both outdoors and in buses. Moderate walking will be involved on uneven terrain. Please dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes.

Thursday, March 22 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

Friday, March 23 – 7:00 am-12:30 pm  $35/person

Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing Trip - McCook

Audubon has partnered with McCook/Red Willow County Visitors Bureau (http://www.prairiechickendancetours.com/) to provide this opportunity to watch the spectacular show of southwest Nebraska’s Greater Prairie-Chickens. Join a knowledgeable guide on an overnight trip observe the annual mating dance of these prairie grouse. Moderate walking will be involved on uneven terrain.

Registration fees include transportation, lodging, supper, and breakfast. Rooms are double occupancy – single participants may need to share rooms. Space is limited.

Thursday, March 22 (leave 4:00 pm)-Friday, March 23 (return to hotel 12:00 noon)

Friday, March 23 (leave 4:00 pm)-Saturday, March 24 (return to hotel 12:00 noon)

$210/person

Prairie Grouse Viewing Trip – Mullen

Audubon has partnered with the Sandhills Motel in Mullen, Nebraska, to provide this wonderful opportunity to see Nebraska’s prairie grouse in action. This overnight trip will take you up scenic Nebraska Highway 2 to the Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rentals near Mullen. Participants will get to view Greater Prairie-Chickens in the evening and Sharp-tailed Grouse in the morning.

Registration fees include Prairie-Chicken and Sharp-tailed Grouse viewing tours, transportation, lodging, supper, and breakfast. Moderate walking will be involved on uneven terrain. Space is limited.

Thursday, March 22 (leave 1:00 pm)-Friday, March 23 (return to hotel 12:00 noon)

Friday, March 23 (leave 1:00 pm)-Saturday, March 24 (return to hotel 12:00 noon)

$225/person

NEW! Legends and Stories ― The Changing Ecology of the Great Plains (Includes Sandhill Crane Field Trip and Trip to Willa Cather Foundation)

Join the Willa Cather Archive in partnership with the Willa Cather Foundation, Audubon Nebraska, and the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary for an ecotourism event focused on Willa Cather’s My Ántonia and the complex ecosystem of central Nebraska. This event is part of a series of events funded by Humanities Nebraska celebrating the centennial of the publication of My Ántonia in 2018.

The trip begins with a sunrise viewing of Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River in Rowe Sanctuary’s viewing blinds. Participants will then travel to Red Cloud, Nebraska, for tours of Cather-related sites in town, including Cather’s childhood home and the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie.

Trips includes transportation and lunch. Moderate walking will be involved on uneven terrain.

Friday, March 23 – 5:15 am-3:30 pm

$75/person

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