I can't believe our group saw such a rare bird on our trip! I'm also happy to report that others have seen the crane, here is an email from Linda Brown that was posted on NEBirds and has detailed directions for all you big year people who are wanting to go see it:
This morning we followed directions from Sharon Stiteler and Amber Burnett who are part of the Minnesota group of 10 who saw the common crane on Thursday, we drove to the spot after taking in the sunrise at the Gibbon Bridge viewing platform. As we scanned the flock Paul Johnsgard invited us to look at the pale whitish crane about twenty feet in from the west side of the flock. Sure enough I could see the black marking with my naked eye! It helped that all the birds were alert and looking at us so all heads were up and facing us. We put the scope on it and the following persons confirmed the sighting:
Paul Johnsgard, Josef Kren, Jackie Canterbury, Fujiyo Koizumi, Michelle Johnson, Randy Yeager and Linda R. Brown.
Josef, Paul and I drove back so we could give you good directions to the field where it was spotted two days in a row. (I have now been by the field four times in two days and only saw it once. There are two young eagles in the area keeping the flock of sandhills flighty. So, I wish you lots of good luck!)
The GIS coordinates for the crane field (from the road) are 40 degrees,41'940, 098 degrees,46'214. The abandoned eagle nest is at 40 degrees 41'940, 090 degrees,46'648.
1.Directions from Shelton Exit off I-80. Driving directions from Interstate 80, Exit 291, the Shelton exit. Drive south 1.5 miles. The crane field is 1.5 miles west of the Shelton Rd 24th Rd intersection (The field is on 24th-the road going west). The cranes were on the north side of the road. For reference: There is an abandoned eagle nest on the south side of the road 1.9 miles west from the intersection of Shelton Rd and 24th.
2. Directions from Gibbon Exit south off of I-80. Paul wrote out directions from the Gibbon Bridge Crane Viewing Platform. (This large platform is located on about the 5th Platte River channel bridge south of the Gibbon exit off of I-80. This viewing platform is accessed from Elm Island Rd which is the road directly south of the bridge. To see the common crane, drive east of Elm Island Rd to Sodtown Rd. North on Sodtown Rd to 17th, east to Sioux, north to 24th, then east to crane field on north of road. The crane field is 0.4mile east beyond the abandoned eagle nest on the south side of the road.
Linda R. Brown