First Crane Sighting Contest – 2017
Every year we hold the first crane sighting of the season contest. A wonderful grand prize is awarded to the individual who submits the first photo of a Sandhill Crane spotted anywhere in the Yampa Valley. This year we added additional prize categories for the first sightings in Steamboat, Craig, North, West, and South Routt. At the last minute we decided to also award a special kid prize. The response has been incredible and we have enjoyed viewing all of your submissions! Thank you for your phone calls, emails, and photos.
News Flash March 31, 2017 – Winners Announced
This year’s grand prize winner is Deb Silva.
Other contest winners are:
Steamboat Springs – Stephen Riley
Craig – Holly Harker
West Routt – Tom Kostur
North Routt – Martha Carroll
South Routt – The Fernley Family
Special Kid Prize – Riley Gunn, age 4
Here’s a summary of all the sightings with photos that we received throughout the month. Hover over the photos on the right to see each photographer’s name or click on the photos to enlarge them.
* Indicates the winner of a category.
*March 7, 2017 – Deb Silva spotted a pair of sandhills walking around a field off CR 30 outside of Craig at 6:15pm. (Grand Prize Winner)
March 10, 2017 – Jason Szyba, one of our crane festival volunteers got a great, close up picture of cranes 2 miles west of Hayden at 10:21am. (As a volunteer, Jason is not eligible for a prize although we love his report and photo.)
*March 10, 2017 – At 7:45pm, Tom Kostur saw a crane in flight by the power plant in Hayden. (West Routt Winner)
March 11, 2017 – The following morning at 7:37am, Mike Mack snapped a wonderful photo 2 miles west of Maybell with cranes and a fox!
March 12, 2017 – The next day Lauretta Monger spotted the cranes in flight over her ranch just east of Hayden.
March 14, 2017 – Cindy Chotvacs got a great picture of the cranes in a pasture out past Sunbeam at the Little Snake River, just off HWY 318.
*March 16, 2017 – The 16th was a big day for crane sightings! It started with Holly Harker at 10:56am getting a beautiful shot of a crane at the pond next to the Wyman Museum in Craig. (Craig Winner)
March 16, 2017 – At 11:45am, Stephanie & Arden Williams saw cranes off HWY 40, east of Milner.
March 16, 2017 –At 12pm, Jordan Williams sent us photos of the cranes off HWY 40 as well!
March 16, 2017 – At 1:15pm, Steve Hoffman sent us a picture of cranes outside the Craig golf course.
March 16, 2017 – Hollis Hampton & Eric Yager submitted a photo of two cranes, taken off HWY 40, east of Milner at 4:15pm.
March 16, 2017 – A mere 15 minutes later, at 4:30pm, Bonnie Goertz sent us stunning photos of the cranes in flight near CR 44 and Rolling Ridge Rd.
March 16, 2017 – Another sighting of cranes took place at 5:30pm by Tegan Anderson off CR 69 in Hayden.
March 16, 2017 – The final sighting on that busy day came from Bill Kress, near the cranes’ well-documented hang out, off HWY 40 east of Milner. No time was given, but he got a great close up shot!
March 17, 2017 – John St. Pierre saw cranes off HWY 40, near mile marker 104, west of Hayden. He sent us a few wonderful shots!
*March 17, 2017 – Stephen Riley found them at the Hogue Ranch, just east of Steamboat at 4pm. (Steamboat Winner)
March 17, 2017 –Cranes were spotted 15 minutes later in Moffat County, at 4:15pm by Wendy Reynolds.
March 18, 2017 – Mike Beyer spotted two pairs of cranes at 6:42pm in Stanko fields between Heritage Park and 20 Mile Road.
March 19, 2017 – Karen Whitney found a pair of cranes off HWY 131 between Sydney Peak Ranch and Steamboat around 1:40pm.
*March 19, 2017 – The Fernleys spotted cranes at 4pm in the South Yampa Valley near Stagecoach. (South Routt Winner)
March 19, 2017 – Holly Harker sent in another beautiful photo; this one of cranes spotted at 4:15pm between HWY 131 and CR 20.
March 19, 2017 – Four year old, Riley Gunn, took a picture of a crane in a pond off HWY 40 and CR 42. Thanks to mom (Anya Gunn) for sending it in.
March 19, 2017 – At 6:45pm, Nancie Mccormish took a photo of three cranes near the Yampa River bridge on HWY 131 close to Windwalker.
*March 19, 2017 – Martha Carroll submitted a photo of the cranes near Focus Ranch in North Routt. No time was submitted. (North Routt Winner)
March 20, 2017 – Patty Casey from Pittsburgh, PA observed cranes leaving the Yampa Valley Regional Airport at 9am.
March 20, 2017 – Kristi Fitzsimmons sent multiple photos at 1pm of the cranes foraging with some cattle in a field off CR 35 in South Routt. Apparently, the cranes did not appreciate the cattle following them, so they flew off across the railroad tracks.
March 20, 2017 – At 3:30pm, Bryant & Lee Cox submitted a photo of the cranes grazing off HWY 131.
March 20, 2017 – Jeanne Maneotis caught a glimpse of them off Highway 13 north of Craig at 6:20pm. Jeanne noted that they typically stop at her nearby home for a few weeks a year!
March 20, 2017 – Deb and John Holloway spotted a pair of dancing cranes near Lake Catamount at 6:50pm.
March 21, 2017 – Cranes were spotted bright and early at 7am by Dan Chovan. They were seen near BMC (Probuild) in Steamboat.
March 21, 2017 – At 8:45am, Patricia & Joe Roberts saw cranes near Grouse Creek between Rt. 14 and 14A, off HWY 131.
March 21, 2017 – Timothy Rabbit reported cranes near Elk River Rd and Downhill Drive, and while the photo is tough to make out, he noted hearing their beautiful song as they flew by at 10:26am.
March 21, 2017 – Louise Brainard saw six cranes in her back pasture on CR 35 at 6pm.
March 22, 2017 – At 7:30am, Karina Spitzley and her daughters saw three cranes on a drive through North Routt, off CR 54 (Lower Deep Creek).
March 22, 2017 – Karen Whitney made a second report of cranes, this one involving five cranes seen at Marabou at noon.
March 22, 2017 – Lisa Middleton spotted cranes at 6pm at the Stanko grazing area off 20 Mile Rd.
March 23, 2017 – At 9am, on a drive from Stagecoach to Steamboat, Leah Prestwood got a photo of the cranes off CR 14.
March 23, 2017 – Brooke Crofts & her daughters caught a glimpse of the cranes right near the Catamount turn off of HWY 131.
March 24, 2017 – Finally, Michael Bishop spotted them in Craig at 3:58pm.
Thanks to everyone who shared their crane sightings with us. We hope to see all of you at the 6th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival – August 31 – September 3 in Steamboat Springs and Hayden, CO.