Craig woman wins first crane of 2018 photo competition | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig woman wins first crane of 2018 photo competition

Craig woman Iva Decker, with the help of her grandson, Charlie Williams, was the first person to document a greater sandhill crane sighting in the Yampa Valley, earning her the grand prize in the 2018 Yampa Valley First Crane Sighting Contest offered by the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition.

CRAIG — For the second year in a row, the first reported greater sandhill crane to return to the Yampa Valley was spotted in Moffat County.

Iva Decker, of Craig, with the help of her grandson, Charlie Williams, submitted photos of cranes on Thompson Hill near Loudy-Simpson Park south of Craig the evening of March 3. The report earned Decker the grand prize in the 2018 Yampa Valley First Crane Sighting Contest, held by the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition.

The first reports of cranes in Routt County rolled in eight days later, when Shawna Wiser documented some of the birds in Elkhead Creek.

"A record 57 crane sightings were reported during the month of March throughout the Yampa Valley," said CCCC President Nancy Merrill. "Reports help us learn more about the greater sandhill cranes in Northwest Colorado. This, in turn, helps our efforts to protect the cranes and conserve their habitat."

Having returned from wintering grounds in New Mexico and Arizona, many of the cranes will nest and raise young in wetland areas throughout the valley.

The contest also helps CCCC raise awareness and acquire images to publicize the Yampa Valley Crane Festival, which will take place Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, when the cranes gather in large groups in preparation for their southern migration.

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Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

2018 Yampa Valley First Crane Sighting Contest winners:

Category — time and location of crane sightings, person submitting photo and/or video

  • Grand prize winner — 4:30 p.m. March 3, Iva Decker and grandson Charlie Williams, near Thompson Hill in Craig
  • West Moffat winner — 5:55 p.m. March 5, Peter and Tamara Miles, March 5  in Sunbeam
  • Craig winner — 9:20 a.m. March 9, Terry Sexton, near Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig
  • West Routt winner — 11:27 a.m. March 11, Shawna Wiser on Routt County Road 86 along Elkhead Creek
  • South Routt winner — 6:30 p.m. March 11, Michele Baxter, near Stagecoach Reservoir
  • North Routt winner — 8 a.m. March 14, Anna Blakeslee, on Fetcher Ranch
  • Steamboat winner — 8:45 a.m. March 20, Bonnie Goertz, on Routt County Road 42

Contest results, along with photos and videos, can be viewed at coloradocranes.org.