For the past eight years in March, Black Canyon Audubon Society (BCAS) has welcomed back the migrating sandhill cranes at Fruitgrowers Reservoir outside of Eckert. This year, Eckert Crane Days will take place March 15-17.
On Friday, March 15, from 7-9 p.m., there will be a wine and appetizer reception at the Graystone Restaurant on North Road (just east of the intersection with Highway 65) in Eckert. Dr. David Noe from Paonia, the featured speaker, will talk about why the cranes choose to stop at the reservoir. Please call 970-874-9532 by March 10 to make a reservation. There is a $20 charge to attend.
On March 15-17, come to Fruitgrowers Reservoir between 9 and 11 a.m. to watch the sandhill cranes lift off. The migrating sandhill cranes arrive late in the afternoon and rest, feed, and overnight in the fields around the reservoir. They are coming from wintering in New Mexico via a stop at Monte Vista and will continue north from Fruitgrowers Reservoir to their breeding grounds. If the weather turns cold, windy or snowy, they may stay in the area for a few days. Stacy's on Main Street in Cedaredge will provide fresh coffee and baked goods to the early risers; these will be available for sale on Saturday and Sunday mornings, only. On Saturday, between noon and 2 p.m. there will be a free lunch at the nearby Hart's Basin Ranch, sponsored by Western States Ranches.
BCAS members will be available with spotting scopes to answer questions regarding the migration of sandhill cranes. Bring your binoculars and spotting scopes if you have them. Last year, over a three-week period, 6,000 cranes came through the area.
To watch the cranes lift off, BCAS will set up at a pull-off west of the reservoir on North Road. From Eckert, turn east onto North Road and follow the road up the hill; you will see BCAS tables and scopes with parking available on both sides of the road. Parking is also available in a small parking lot down the hill and closer to the reservoir. In addition to watching the cranes, BCAS members will also be on the causeway (North Road) to watch waterfowl and answer questions.
For more information, go to the BCAS website, www.
blackcanyonaudubon.org, or contact president Bruce Ackerman at Bruceackermanaud@aol.com.