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Midland Musings with Jenny Nguyen – Wildlife at Niobrara

Niobrara State Park is one of my favorite places to visit up in this part of the state. Situated on at the confluence of the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, the landscape in this region is constantly changing– so much that the town of Niobrara has had to relocate twice. Between Nebraska and South Dakota, there is the river and the floodplain, so open, wide and saturated with water. Its marshes holds some of the best water-fowling opportunities in the state. Before the water took over, there used to be corn here, believe it or not.

Bazile Creek

One of my favorite features are the yellowish, orange bluffs that overlook the water. I love this area because it’s different from anything I’ve seen in Eastern Nebraska. Coming from California, I miss the mountains. To see the bluffs on the horizon is a friendly sight.

The Missouri River rises and falls. Two years ago, the flood put many homes and highways under water. This year, the lower water level has exposed many sand bars and shorelines, an ideal place for shorebirds to hang out. Biologists Scott Wessel, Josh Konouvsky and I saw all sorts of godwits, plovers and avocets. Bird watchers, this is a great time to see them. They’re here!

If you’re into wildlife viewing, Niobrara has got it all. Whenever I drop by, I never fail to see activity. I’m going turkey hunting for the first time this weekend. I hope I get one!

I bet this little guy is wondering about the weather, too. I saw him lying out in the grass, basking in the sun.

The deer must be less spooky this time of the year. They’d step back a few paces, but continued to stay and look at us. They must know it’s not deer season. I think they were saying, “neener-neener-neener!”

Until next time! Off to a new adventure.

Jenny Nguyen is a public information officer with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission stationed in Norfolk. She also is a regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Contact her at 402-992-0731 or jenny.nguyen@nebraska.gov.

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

NEBRASKAland Associate Editor Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and moved to the United States with her parents in 1992. She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, in 2008 and completed her bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 2012. Wheatley was editor-in-chief for her high school newspaper and continued to write in college, freelancing for various publications, the Tiger Woods Foundation and writing for her blog FoodForHunters.com. After graduating college, she moved to Nebraska in early 2013 to join the Commission as Regional Editor at NEBRASKAland Magazine. She then became associate editor in 2015. Wheatley enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.

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