It has been a good birthday, as birthdays go at my age, even though I didn’t spend it with my twin sister Lisa. One of her twins, a senior at North Platte High School, is the Tin Man in the school musical of “The Wizard of Oz, with performances Friday and Saturday nights, and this afternoon.
So anything we might consider doing together and/or with Mom will wait until another time. That’s OK. My family never has thought that a celebration of a birthday or any holiday was diminished if you didn’t have it on the exact day.
My birthday weekend included spending most of Saturday in Grand Island at the Nebraska Press Women winter board meeting. Food and fellowship is part of every Press Women event, so those of us who did not have somewhere else to be at a certain time adjourned to a local Mexican restaurant.
In this picture, from back to front, side to side, are Terri Hahn, NPW President Bette Pore, Treasurer Stephanie Geery-Zink, Vice President Sherry Thompson, my empty chair, Mary Pat Finn-Hoag, Secretary Barbara Micek and Cheryl Alberts Irwin.
Mary Pat and I then visited a Grand Island gallery that is hosting this year’s “Wings Over the Platte” exhibit, in which I have two photos.
Today, in addition to usual Sunday things, I took Mom and one of her friends on an early “let’s go see the sandhill cranes” drive because it’s such a nice warm (low 70s) day.
We usually go later in the season, after more sandhill cranes have arrived in the Central Platte Valley, and we knew the cranes are late this year because of the cold weather recently. We saw some, but not enough, so I’ll try to take them out for another crane watching drive in a couple of weeks.
We did see a migratory waterfowl show on the southwest edge of Kearney. Millions of ducks and geese also stop in south-central Nebraska every year during their spring migration. They generally start arriving in February and will congregate on any patch of open water.
That includes water in sandpits along both sides of the river. The sandy soils are mined for all the many uses for sand, but particularly for road construction. What is left, because of the high groundwater table, are chains of small lakes.
There were thousands of snow, white-fronted and Canada geese on one small lake west of the Fairfield Inn. So many were huddled together that it was difficult to pick out individual birds, even with the zoom lens on my camera.
Periodically, 25 percent to 50 percent of the birds would fly up for now apparent reason. Some flew off to other sandpits and some circled in the bright blue sky and dropped back down to their original place.
Some parents might say that’s sort of like the pattern of grown children who are trying to find their place in the world.
I used my birthday as kind of a scouting trip for bird-season photo opportunities and I hope to have many days ahead – working on Kearney Hub stories or just “me” time – to watch this amazing, world-class natural event in my own back yard.
I invite all of you to put a trip to Kearney in the middle of March some year on your “must see sometime” list. I can help you find some good viewing places … and you can help me celebrate another birthday.