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Wildlife

A magical time in northwestern Nebraska

Spring and early summer is a magical time of year that leaves us too quickly. It seems I never get out with the cameras as much as I want to during this period, but usually end up with a few keeper images, anyway. Here is a collection of random photos from recent weeks. I am often amused when any given chamber of commerce or tourism bureau brags on its sunrises and sunsets being the best. (Since we are all watching …

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Wildcat Hills: A Wild Place

Whether you’re looking for state-of-the-art facilities, or just a great view in the pines, this Panhandle park has it. High on the list of Nebraska’s captivating scenery and natural assets are the Wildcat Hills. It seems an understatement to label this topographical spectacle as “hills,” as it is actually a land of rugged buttes, ridges and canyons with topographical elements rising upwards to 1,000 feet above the North Platte Valley. Some of the state’s most recognizable landforms – Chimney Rock, …

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Bird Photography: The First 99

One shutter-button press at a time, the bird photos add up. What the Nebraska Panhandle may lack in diversity of bird life when compared to eastern Nebraska it more than makes up for in its varied landscape. That variation, from the towering sandstone buttes through the pine forests, sandhill lakes, riparian woodlands, grasslands, croplands and even residential areas, is home to a diversity of birds, and some bird-watching gems found nowhere else in the state. Joel Jorgensen, nongame bird program …

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Park speaker series kicking off with osprey program

Osprey

CRAWFORD, Neb. — A summer speaker series in northwestern Nebraska’s state parks kicks off this week with a program about ospreys and other birds of prey. Shelley Mangram, a ranger at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, will deliver the presentation Friday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at Fort Robinson State Park’s Soldier Creek Campground. The series of presentations, which also includes programs at Chadron State Park, is a collaboration of the National Park Service’s Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, the …

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Northwestern Exposure: The Bright Lights of Cottonwood-Steverson

Lightning at Cottonwood-Steverson

As the weather warms up, I love overnight trips to our great public lands in the region. The more remote the better. For the first trip of the season, I chose Cottonwood-Steverson Wildlife Management Area in the Sandhills between Merriman and Hyannis. Upon arrival, the Cottonwood-Steverson welcoming committee promptly greeted me. While many water-loving species are attracted to Cottonwood-Steverson and its Sandhills lakes, I found myself attracted to the many small birds fluttering among the trees. The warblers were out …

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Hunters, Anglers: Become Bird Watchers!

I am a hunter. I am an angler. I am a bird watcher. I love to watch birds, especially when I am hunting or fishing. I love watching all birds, not just the game birds I hunt. I enjoy viewing them intently and trying to capture some halfway decent photos of them. If you’re a hunter or an angler, you should become a bird watcher. I’ll explain why in a moment. May is a great month to view birds. In …

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Northwestern Exposure: Taking refuge

This is always an especially great time of year to visit the Sandhills, with the landscape greening up and diverse wildlife in abundance. Anyone wanting to do so had better check conditions before going, though. On May 2, I decided to drive the slow road through the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge from Oshkosh to Lakeside. Once I got to the refuge, I found the road under water in several places and decided to backtrack southward, making for a much …

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Late Season Turkey Tips: Gettin’ That Gobbler

We are in the late season for spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska. Using a baseball analogy, it is the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is behind, the bases are loaded, there two outs and you are up to bat! I don’t think there is any doubt about it, spring turkey hunting late in the season is challenging. However, there are still plenty of gobbles to be heard and birds to be worked plus amazing experiences to be …

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“Hi, Puppy!”

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My standard greeting for a new dog I encounter is to hold out my hand and say, “Hi, Puppy!”  I do not know if the dogs like that greeting or not.  At least I have not been bitten yet. I was walking around the neighborhood the other day and saw a pretty red dog watching me from someone’s backyard.  I think he wanted to come out and play: That was a good-looking dog, wonder where I could get one? OK, …

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Nebraska’s wildlife appears to have fared well through storm, flood

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska’s wildlife seems to have fared well overall in the wake of March’s blizzard and catastrophic flooding. While some individual animals likely died, some new habitat to benefit wildlife has been created. The full impact of the blizzard and flood, in many cases, won’t be known for some time. Upland Game – There likely were not many upland gamebird deaths because of the flooding, which occurred prior to the nesting season, as these birds are mobile and …

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