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RE: [sd-birds] All day Whooping Crane hunt - Beadle Co.

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  • Jon Little
    When I first noticed these postings about a single (or more) Whooping Cranes, I couldn t help but wonder whether one of the birds seen was one that my wife and
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 29, 2012
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      When I first noticed these postings about a single (or more) Whooping
      Cranes, I couldn't help but wonder whether one of the birds seen was one
      that my wife and I had searched for in Nebraska the week before.

      We had birded and seen thousands of Sandhill Cranes between Grand Island &
      Kearney. When we stopped by the Crane Trust (Nebraska Nature & Visitor
      Center), we were told about a single Whooper that was imprinted on Sandhills
      (or raised by, I assume?). They told us that when Whoopers stop by, they
      generally move on the next day or so; but the Sandhills stick around for a
      month or more (along with imprinted Whoopers, who stay with their
      "parents"). As a real, live Whooping Crane would be a "Real" lifer for both
      of us (the 2 in Florida don't really count), we were hot on the trail.

      For the next 2 days, we drove, scanned, worked, & birded every single road
      within the area where that bird had been seen earlier (130 Sq miles +) =
      NADA! But, after all that effort, and all that $4 gas, we had to move on. I
      can only surmise that the bird seen in SD might be the same bird we chased
      in NE (Beadle Co is almost directly North of where we were in NE), but I
      certainly admire and share the same sense of discovery of those who found
      it. As I only need 3 more to get to 300 for my SD list, "We'll be back!"

      Jon & BJ Little

      Winchester, VA

      From: sd-birds@yahoogroups.com [mailto:sd-birds@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of dalybar@...
      Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 10:26 AM
      To: sd-birds@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [sd-birds] All day Whooping Crane hunt - Beadle Co.

      Yesterday was a very long but a very good day. After hearing a report about
      a Whooping Crane in Beadle Co. (from Nancy Drilling), Jocie Baker and I
      headed out at 3:30 AM. yesterday to see if we could find it. After arrival
      in the reported sighting area, we spent most of the time between our arrival
      and 4:30 PM seeing tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes and no Whooping
      crane, driving up and down many unpaved roads, over and over, scanning the
      huge flocks for a white one. The wonderful sounds of Sandhill Cranes were
      everywhre. Many of the flocks were resting or flying over corn fields, which
      were hilly and often hid huge numbers of cranes from our sight. The only way
      we knew there were cranes in these valleys was that sometimes a wave of them
      would arise into view from nowhere, or would disappear from sight behind a
      small hill. The only white birds were scattered flocks of Snow Geese. At
      4:30 in an area (206th St.) that we had not tried before, we were overjoyed
      to see a white crane-shaped dot up in the sky with a flock of Sandhill
      Cranes. The flock came down behind a hill where we could not see it, but we
      waited and drove to get the best view. We found it standing on the ground
      amid the Sandhills. As the cranes had been doing all day, small batches of
      cranes would take to the air and land a short distance away, up and down and
      up and down... The Whooping Crane and its friends took to the air one time
      while we watched and then settled back down out of sight. We realized we
      needed to go home, and did so by way of Pierre to look for the earlier
      reported (Ricky Olson) Bonaparte's Gull.

      We found one Bonaparte's Gull at the Oahe tailrace. Other new birds for me
      for the year for the trip were Tree Swallow (1) low over a wet area,
      Blue-winged Teal in many of the ponds, Lesser Yellowlegs (1 or 2 among the
      many Greater), and Chestnut-collared Longspur (2 along one of the gravel
      roads). I got home at about 10:15 last night, tired but very happy.

      Pictures of a very small sampling of the Sandhill Cranes, and distant
      pictures of the Whooping Crane are at:
      type=3&l=3e86c3e77d> &type=3&l=3e86c3e77d

      Lynn Barber
      Rapid City, SD

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