I now officially consider it spring! Maybe Punxsutawney Phil was right earlier this month when he did not see his shadow and, as tradition goes, we would have an earlier spring.
Sandhill cranes are arriving in Nebraska now and that means spring to me. A few thousand cranes are in the Cornhusker State now, but that will grow to hundreds of thousands in the next couple of weeks.
From Beatrice, probably the closest place to see cranes would be in the Aurora to Grand Island region. The further west you drive the more cranes you’ll see. The area from Grand Island to Kearney is where the bulk of the birds settle, but you can see the cranes as far west as Hershey. There are even a few that stop over around Lake McConaughy.
If you have never seen the Sandhill crane migration, you need to put that on your bucket list. It is a true wonder of nature and one of one three places on earth where the bulk of a species comes together.
If you do want to travel to see these great birds, it is not something where you have to get up early. Most people find the best time of the day to view cranes is late afternoon to dusk. You can watch the cranes come into fields to feed and get ready to roost for the night and still have enough time to get home and not make it too long of a day.
Once you begin to see cranes, get off the Interstate and go a mile or two north or south of I-80. Keep your eyes open and scan the fields, you will find the cranes. When you find a spot where you can see cranes, stay in your vehicle. Cranes are not bothered too much by vehicles or farm machinery, but a human form on the ground is a sure way to get them to take flight. Nebraska is the only state in their flyway where they are not hunted, so they are very wary of humans.
Cranes prefer wide open fields and meadows and like to keep a “buffer zone” between themselves and anything else that could be or hide a predator. Often you can drive within 100-150 yards from them before the cranes get nervous and move off. Do your best not to disturb them at all.
Everyone wants to get a closer look, so take a good pair of binoculars with you. If you intend to take pictures of cranes, you’ll need a camera that has the ability to zoom out 4X to 6X at a minimum. When photographing cranes, more magnification is always better.
I think the sound of cranes is one of the most fascinating aspects to these birds. Their sound is very primal, particularly when you think that there is evidence that cranes have been coming to Nebraska for the last 10 million years. The sound of cranes makes me feel the need to be part of nature.
Cranes will probably be in Nebraska another month or so before they continue north to their breeding grounds in the arctic. Don’t wait too long. Get out and enjoy a true spectacle of nature.
If you remember the big announcement from the 2017 SHOT Show, Colt re-entered the double-action revolver market. They introduced the Cobra sub-nose .38 to get in on the conceal-carry market and the shooting public accepted it.
Now the company has introduced the King Cobra in .357 Magnum. The King Cobra should be available at your Colt dealer now. The revolver is made with American Stainless Steel, a heavy duty frame with a full lug 3-inch barrel, and the 6-round capacity that differentiates Colt from small frame revolvers from the competition.
“Our customers started asking for a .357 version of our Cobra immediately after the release, and at that moment we knew we had to prioritize this great addition to the Cobra family” said Justin Baldini, Product Director at Colt. “We couldn’t be more excited to add the power of .357 Magnum back into Colt’s Double Action Revolver lineup.”
The King Cobra also features a user-replaceable front sight and its trademarked Linear Leaf spring trigger. Price of the new King Cobra will be about $900.
I’m a big fan of .357 revolvers and I’ll probably need to get one eventually. I’m guessing that I and many other Colt fans are asking…when is the next Colt Python coming out?