ECKERT CRANE DAYS is the acknowledgement of the gift of Sandhill Cranes who profoundly announce the arrival of Spring to the Surface Creek area of Delta County. It is an attitude . . . a state of mind.
But the singular voice of the Cranes is a much larger affirmation of a connection to a species far older than our own. Cranes are ancient birds that offered announcements of Spring long before the appearance of human species that were (was) just developing. These magnificent birds remind us of a rich legacy that is owned by the ears and eyes and hearts and minds of all those who have the capacity to receive such treasures.
Now, this website is going to fulfill a somewhat different mission, or, at least serve as a experiment. It will remain a work in progress by experimenting with community-based opportunities for participation – especially with postings of Crane Counts and sightings of other birds and wildlife in and around Fruitgrowers Reservoir and Hart’s Basin. We will mess around with blog-type opportunities for prose and poetry and perhaps visual art.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Eckert Crane Days started as a local festival to organize an appreciation of the birds and their role in the local communities. Started by our now-closed winery in Eckert, with the help and efforts of other groups and individuals, the original Crane Days started in 2002 and ended after a ten year run. Crane Days offered formal presentations and activities on two successive Saturdays in March to demonstrate that the Cranes grace the landscape and skies for about six weeks in the Spring, the point being that pointing to just one day misses the point of the celebration. Eckert Crane Days taught the neighbors and visitors to the area about the importance of Fruitgrowers Reservoir and the uniqueness of its position in Hart’s Basin to provide the primary first stop for most of the 20,000-some population of Greater Sandhill Cranes as they emerge from their staging area in the San Luis Valley after wintering in New and Old Mexico.
EckertCraneDays.com was set up to facilitate the activities of the festival. It announced the seminars and organized field viewings, provided information about offered lodging and dining suggestions for tourists, and provided a nightly count of arriving Cranes to provide a phenological report and to alert Crane aficionados when to expect a massive lift-off the next morning.
Eckert Crane Days, as originally conceived and produced, ended with its tenth annual festival in 2011. In 2012 and this year other local folks are trying to keep the tradition of a festival alive with an event on a single weekend. (I have been told the weekend of March 16th has been chosen for this year. As soon as I get some official details about a webpage I will post a link here.)
Thanks, Jim Durr