Into a North Wind

As I headed back to Colorado today, a strong north wind raked the Great Plains and rattled my aging pickup truck.  Wind driven rain impaired travel east of Topeka while horizontal flurries caused temporary whiteouts between Topeka and Russell.

Despite these challenging conditions, I encountered two flocks of sandhill cranes, fighting their way into the teeth of the frigid northerly winds; the first, west of Wilson, Kansas, numbered 35 or so while a larger flock (about 70) crossed the Interstate near Ogallah.  Of course, they were likely on their way to their major "spring" staging area on the Platte River, in south-central Nebraska (see Cranes on the Platte River).

While migrating cranes and waterfowl often take advantage of tail winds to minimize energy consumption and hasten their travels, spring flocks have procreation "in mind" and, I suspect, are less patient than they might be in the fall.  One must admire their fortitude and today's determined flocks were an inspiring sight indeed; if nothing else, they forced me to realize that my own travel woes were minimal by comparison.