It's hard to believe, but a whole year has flown past and it's festival time in the Yampa Valley. Our cranes, the Rocky Mountain population of about 20,000, winter at the Bosque del Apache (about 90 miles south of Albuquerque).
Its festival is the week before Thanksgiving each year. Then our cranes begin their spring migration by flying up to the Monte Vista area, with the festival there in early March. Next they cross the mountains and spend one night at Hart's Basin (Fruitgrowers Reservoir) and we have Eckert Crane Days in mid-March.
The cranes stop here in the spring because the water provides roosting.
But when our cranes begin their southward migration to the Bosque del Apache, Hart's Basin has little water. It's more like a big mud flat!
So for a number of years, we've had crane festivals at Monte Vista, Eckert Crane Days, and the Bosque del Apache. But now we have a NEW festival! Some of our cranes nest in the Yampa Valley and when their kin come south during the fall migration, they tend to congregate with the nesters and with others from the north. This gathering of cranes is termed "staging."
This will be the second annual festival in the Yampa Valley, Sept. 5-9. Among the events is a nine-minute gondola ride to the top of the mountain. Then there's a nature walk at 9,080-foot elevation. It will be interesting to compare the flora there and the flora on Grand Mesa. There's also a birding-by-boat tour on the Stagecoach Reservoir. And Monday noon Robert Storkowsky will share his experiences with the white-naped crane in Mongolia.
Again I'm impressed with the high quality of the speakers at the Yampa Valley Festival (last year was George Archibald, co-founder of International Crane Foundation). This year will be Rod Drewien, the senior biologist for the cross-fostering program and the recognized authority on our cranes. His presentation is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8. On Monday evening, renowned photographer Michael Forsberg will speak. Hope to see you there!blog comments powered by Disqus