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Birding Nebraska 04 (1 Viewer)


I should say at the start that this was not a birding trip and that I only got 4 life list birds in 10 days. I gotmy first 50 or so birds outside Missouri in Canada about a year ago. Of course, it was easier then, as I had a small list.

But I did explore birding sites in Nebraska. There is a book on wildlife areas of Nebraska which has maps. Another source just for birds is an issue of Nebraskaland magazine you can get at most state parks called Birding Nebraska. It has lists of birds at various areas, but of course most of them in spring and fall. August was pretty poor, and I did notexplore those wetlands that have nesting birds. My three non birders only wanted to see parks with a visitor center. The best of those was at Fort Niobrara outside Valentine.

Most people will explore the I 80 route, which has the cranes section near Kearney and Grand Island. This will take you out west, where some western birds can be seen even in summer. Chadron, Scotts Bluff and Wildcat Hills are areas out west.

We went about half way across and then straight north to Valentine. Camping is not great, but lots of motels in Valentine for fall or winter trips. Valentine wildlife area is a bunch of lakes alonga US highway and one is a salt lake. Slightly East of Valentine is the Niobrara river, which you can canoe. I saw a few sandpipers and kingfishers in August. Lots of warblers in Fort Niobrara, wildlife refuge, plus a burrowing owl right outside visitor center. Most parks can give you a bird list to use.

Going towards East on the Niobrara are several wildlife areas, Eagles and gulls are seen in winter, and we did see one Bald Eagle. At Niobrara state park a large wetland area can be viewed in fall. Or early summer for nesting birds. Motels were few but the state park had cabins and camping and was clean. It was cold this August. Eastern Bluebirds were a bit strange, dark on top and no rediish color, just the blue. Eastern Nebraska has the typical Midwest backyard birds, Lots of Red Headed Woodpeckers, though.

Kansas has some prairie areas. Did not stop, as the ones from the road were quite empty of life now. Had hoped to find a Dicksissel on this trip, no such luck.

I’m not sure I would head there in winter for birds, but if you can pick the northern route for your other travel through here, you can see gulls and terns in winter along the Niobrara.

Lots of sites around Lincoln and Omaha for fall and Spring migrations. Several sites along the Nebraska Iowa border have good wetlands.

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