I learned from photography friends that there’s a spot in central Nebraska that cannot be missed. I decided to take a field trip to see for myself – and was pleasantly suprised! The site is the Rowe Sanctuary and Ian Nicolson Audubon Center, located near Kearney, Nebraska. This Sanctuary consists of nearly 2,000 acres on the south bank of the North Platte River, and it’s location is ideal for observing migratory waterfowl, particularly Sandhill Cranes. I was about 4-6 weeks too early to see migrating waterfowl, but I did see lots of bald eagles. In the evening that I was there, I counted 50 eagles, both adults and juveniles, perched on the far bank of the North Platte (about a third of a mile away from where I was standing on the south bank). The photograph at the left shows one of the younger birds who got close enough for a shot.
The next morning, I was up at dawn and found my way into one of the blinds constructed and maintained by the Sanctuary staff. I was amazed by the blind. It was located on water’s edge, so I had an excellent view both up and down-river. There were 43 viewing “ports”, where one could quietly slide a black particle board down and situate binoculars or camera lens without disturbing animals in the vicinity of the blind. I observed and photographed a green heron for some time. Unfortunately, he located himself between me and the sun, so the photos didn’t turn out well. I was more fortunate with a much smaller bird – a female kingfisher was active near the blind, and I got some great shots of her. I watched as she hovered about 15 feed above the water, dived, caught a fish, and perched on the ice having her snack. Wonderful! I can’t wait to get back when the migrating waterfowl are there!