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Flora & Fauna

Turtles at Home in Nebraska

The Sandhills region is tops for Blanding’s turtle habitat and numbers Grass-covered sand dunes accented by wetland marshes and lakes as far as the eye can see. Humans and vehicle traffic sparse. Vibrant community of turtles and other wildlife. If real estate advertisements targeted wildlife, such words would catch the eye of at least one species. Thanks to research at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, we know many Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) are already living the good life in the …

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When to Expect the First Morel Mushrooms of the Season

Tersh Kepler of Omaha, NE, one of the Midwest’s foremost morel mushroom hunting experts, is hoping for two things these early spring days: More what he calls “liquid gold” and rays from BOB in the sky. The “liquid gold” would be more measurable precipitation in the form of rain and the rays from BOB would be warmth provided by the big orange ball in the sky, the sun. Kepler says the conditions are still dry at this point in Nebraska …

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Spring Forward With These Outdoor Activities

Spring. It has arrived on the calendar. The amount daylight is increasing. The weather is warming. In Nebraska, there are a multitude of activities that you can do in early spring. Here are several to encourage you to step outside. View Early Spring Birds. A wide variety of opportunities await Nebraska bird watchers in early spring. The migration of wild fowl is truly something to behold! The spring spectacle of the sandhill crane migration along the Platte River in south-central …

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Spring Wild Turkey Hunting: Addiction, Obsession, Passion

Noted turkey hunter and outdoor writer Tom Kelly once wrote, “I do not hunt turkeys because I want to. I hunt them because I have to. I would, really, rather not. But I am helpless in the grip of my compulsion.” I completely agree! Anyone who has ever spent a gorgeous Nebraska spring morning with their back leaning against the base of a mature hardwood tree or sitting in a camouflaged blind, using a call and decoys to lure a …

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A Rare Bird: Remembering Jon Farrar

Dogged writer and photographer. Accuracy hound. Swearer. Whiskey drinker. That was Jon Farrar. This colorful character of a man, who spent 42 years on the staff of Nebraskaland Magazine, passed away on March 30, 2021, at the age of 73. His closest friends will remember the stories he told, the late-night decoy carving sessions and how he disappeared into the Sandhills each October, primarily to hunt ducks. His body of work, however, including more than 580 articles, several books and …

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Winter Wildlife Tracking

By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist Winter is normally a time for hibernation. Sleeping five to sometimes nine months out of the year, animals will lay coiled up and cozy in an underground burrow, a pile of leaves or, as humans do, under a heated blanket in our beds. The negative temperatures, face-stinging wind, and feet and feet of shoveled snow could make anyone want to hibernate all season long in their heated homes. However, winter is a fabulous time …

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Larry Porter and His Sparrows

Larry Porter was a beloved former sports and outdoor writer for the Omaha World-Herald. He passed away March 2. In retirement, Porter pursued his interest in nature photography, and just before his passing, he contributed this story and photographs to Nebraskaland to publish on this site. We are saddened to learn about Porter’s passing, and we are sharing this story here now to honor his memory and legacy. — Nebraska Game and Parks Staff By Larry Porter People chuckle at …

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March Means Migration Near You (Even in the City)

When I was kid, I always looked forward to taking a drive with my grandparents during the March thaw to see the spring migration of birds along the Platte River in rural Sarpy County, Nebraska. We never had to travel very far from our homes in Gretna to see the migrating birds either. It’s those drives that helped develop my appreciation for birds. Truth is, you still do not have to venture far at all to enjoy the spectacular spring migration of birds …

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Nebraskaland 2021 Photo Contest

Best of Show BEST OF SHOW – Sandhill Crane Preening on Platte River Bank Photo by Britton Bailey, Aurora @bfbinstailey With more than 3,000 entries submitted through Instagram, the 2021 Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest drew a record number of stunning images from Nebraska photographers in the categories of Wildlife, Flora, Scenic and Recreation. This year’s Best of Show winner, “Sandhill Crane Preening on Platte River Bank,” by Britton Bailey of Aurora, was shot at Rowe Sanctuary in central Nebraska. “To …

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Light Geese are Delicious and Deserve Respect

As a conservation professional, I get sick and tired of people calling snow and Ross’s geese nasty nicknames and saying that they are downright unfit to eat. Look, they are not “sky carp,” “rats with white feathers,” or “trash birds.” No, not by a long shot! Your blogger displays snow geese harvested during a recent Light Goose Conservation Order hunt in south-central Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. They are classified as light geese — snow …

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