“Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote The drought of March hath perced to the roote.”
This is the opening couplet to Chaucer’s “Prologue” to Canterbury Tales. In high school I memorized the opening verses in the “Prologue” about wandering travelers who “tread new shores … (to) seek out far shrines renowned in many lands.” I still fondly think about those tales as I wend my way – not to Canterbury, England, but to the banks of the Platte River in central Nebraska to witness possibly the greatest wildlife spectacle in North America. Each spring more than 500,000 Sandhill cranes converge on the Platte river valley between Grand Island and Kearney before making the long journey to summer nesting grounds in Canada, Alaska, and the Arctic.
If you are making the trip for the first time, The Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center at the Alda exit on I 80 is a good place to stop and pick up information and a map of roadside viewing sites. I would also highly recommend a stop at the Ian Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary. To find Rowe Sanctuary take exit 285 toward Gibbon and follow the signs.