Dawn found us back at the Alda bridge, in a light breeze and light sleet, listening to the cranes wake up and the endless flocks of snow geese overhead. As the skies grew brighter, against all odds, Danny picked a white dot out of the vast crane islands — an adult whooping crane, almost certainly the one we had enjoyed a few days earlier just a mile or so down the road.
The weather wasn’t improving, so we pushed on to Gretna and Schramm State Park, where all was quiet but for a noisy belted kingfisher nervously hunting the old fish ponds. A walk along the densely wooded blufftops was hardly any birdier, with a heard-only myrtle warbler our only feathered reward.
Schram on a sunnier winter’s day than we had this year
The drive back to Omaha should have been shorter than it was, and traffic was still jammed when it came time to head out for dinner. But we got there, and slept the happy sleep of the bird-sated as we looked forward to the return home.