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Nebraska Trifecta & More (Day 3)

May 10th, 2017 2 comments

If you missed Days 1 & 2 of this series, you can catch up here (NE Day 1 and NE Day 2).

In planning our trip to Nebraska, I had scoured the AAA guide and another guide I had bought about out-of-the-way sights everyone should see and I had gone through the National Geographic Road Atlas  Adventure Edition and a Nebraska Atlas….and then there’s Google and Bing Maps online, not to mention checking eBird for birding hotspots in the state. This process can take several weeks as I check for parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges. Of course, the first priority was seeing the Sandhill Cranes and so that’s where I started – Google Nebraska and Sandhill Cranes and you will find Rowe Sanctuary very quickly. So that was ground zero so to speak but there would be lots of ground to cover in getting there and I wanted to take every opportunity possible to see what birds and attractions we could see along the way.

So, with all that checking and searching and listing and figuring, I had come up with twelve places I absolutely wanted to see and eleven more places that I categorized as “maybe, if there’s time”.  So far, I’d seen two sites from the “maybe” list – the Townsley Murdock Trail site and the Higgins Memorial – and one site from the “definitely” list – Freemont State Recreation Area (SRA). But, now it was time to get busy on the “definitely” list and the “where the cranes are” places on the maps. And the fifty mile area from Grand Island to Kearney (kar-nee) was supposed to be it – Crane city all the way and we were ready to see some Cranes.

I suppose I thought that there would be Cranes everywhere. After all, what do you do with half a million birds that are about 5 foot tall and trying to bulk up for a long flight to their Arctic breeding grounds? I’m thinking you’d see those birds everywhere….but, so far, on this trip we hadn’t seen a one. We’d driven more than 160 miles into Nebraska, crossed plains and rivers and hadn’t spotted a single Crane. Being the worrier that I am, I began to wonder if I had dragged my long-suffering husband all the way to mid-America on a wild goose – errrr, Crane – chase.  I fretted that the warm weather had encouraged the Cranes to head on up north and they had all departed maybe a day or so before we got there. If you have followed my bird chasing in the past, you might have noticed a trend – I seem to have a habit of being a day late and a dollar short on these things. Hadn’t I driven all the way to Flamingo Point in the Everglades only to find no flamingos?  And, then hadn’t we driven all the way around Yellowstone Park to discover that there is no fishing allowed at Fishing Bridge?  Now, had I arrived in Nebraska only to find that there were no longer any Sandhill Cranes on the South Platte River????

So, it was with some excitement and some trepidation that we headed out from Grand Island to start seriously looking for Cranes…..and I had a plan, of course….always got a plan whether it works or not. My “definitely” list included three sites to see in and around Grand Island before heading on down towards Kearney. I had eliminated one location – the Coney Island Café – when we arrived. While the internet site shows a photo of a snazzy café from the 1950’s era, the actual café was a very nondescript place in a strip of shops downtown and the reviews weren’t so good for the food so I decided it wasn’t worth backtracking into downtown just for lunch. There was also a very important site nearby at Wood River – Crane Environmental Trust & Visitor Center (also known as Crane Meadows).  So, day 3 would be an exploration of these sites around Grand Island. If time permitted, we might also take a look at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. Most important to the day’s activities would be getting to Rowe Sanctuary by 6:00 PM where we had reservations for the evening viewing of the Cranes…..if there were any left in Nebraska.

But first, we pause for our second GPS glitch of the trip! We entered the address for Mormon Island in the GPS – 7425 US 281 – and we were on our way.  What I didn’t enter was “south” US 281 so the GPS took us on a path to the north. We started thinking we might be going away from the Interstate and we knew that the park was near the Interstate….but then the GPS informed us that we were nearing our destination and, looking around, we saw farms and cattle ranches but no park and no river.  Using Google Maps on my phone (my trusty backup), we turned around and headed south again. But all was not in vain, on the way to US 281, we found Eagle Scout Park and some pretty good birds – Snow Geese, Canada Geese, Collared Doves, more Red-Winged Blackbirds, and, of course, American Robins.

First planned stop – Mormon Island State Recreation Area.  

The site where the park is located was formerly a stopping point on the Mormon Trail used by Mormons (Church of the Latter Day Saints) on their way from Navoo, Illinois to the Great Salt Lake Valley. In the 1800’s, the Mormons were seemingly constantly on the move trying to find a place to set up their stronghold without persecution.

The Mormon Trail which is about 1300 miles long is now the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail and ran roughly along the same route as the Oregon and California Trails. The Mormons chose to travel along the north side of the Platte River to avoid conflict with travelers on the Oregon Trail just to the south.

Today there is little at the park of the Mormons or the trail except for the name. There also isn’t really an island. The park sits right along Interstate 80 and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Platte River (after you cross the Interstate, of course). It is a lovely park with several small lakes (the island effect?) and offers hiking, camping, fishing, and some boating on the lakes).

For us, it was about the birding.  We saw good birds there but most would be instantly recognizable to birders back home. The Eurasian Collared Dove is one bird that seemed to be settling in nicely in the west but is still quite the rarity back east. There were also some ducks and Scaups that lingered on the lakes and had not yet started their northern migration. There were quite a few Red-Winged Blackbirds and, you guessed it, plenty of Robins.

After an hour or so birding the park and just looking around, we headed down to Wood River and the Crane Trust.

Crane Environmental Trust Visitors Center

I’d like to say we saw thousands of Sandhill Cranes at the Crane Environmental Trust…but we didn’t. We took the Interstate (80…since it is the only Interstate in Nebraska and from this point westward parallels the Lincoln Highway, US 30) and we did see maybe 100 Cranes flying over right at the exit for Wood River. We followed their flight to a field along the road and stopped to try to get a good look and grab some photos but the birds landed in a farmer’s field that we could not easily (and probably legally) get to so, with our hopes high we headed on over to the Crane Trust Visitor’s Center. Imagine our dismay when the volunteer at the center informed us that the Cranes had already left the area. In fact, she was surprised that we had seen the birds along the highway. She advised us to take back roads in a westerly direction towards Kearney and check out farmer’s fields if we wanted to see Cranes.

In the meantime, we checked out the Visitor’s Center, which was very nice and had some very good displays. We saw a Snow Goose and a Ross’s Goose in the display area that helped to confirm my tentative identification of a pair of Geese we had seen at Eagle Scout Park as Ross’s Geese. The center also had a nice hiking path and a bridge across the river that looked pretty inviting so we got binoculars and cameras and headed out on the trail. We had noticed that the western sky looked gray and cloudy but I decided (against Jerry’s good advice) that we had plenty of time to hike a mile or so and see what birds we might find on the preserve that might be interesting. You never know, we might find a stray Crane or a life bird or two. Who knew?

Well, we got about a half mile down the path and just over the bridge when it started raining, of course, and we quickly headed back to the Center….but not quite quickly enough. We had only taken a few steps on our way back when the rain turned to sleet or hail and then both. Oh my! We were stung and pounded for five minutes or so and then it was icy cold rain again. We had picked up our pace considerably and were soon back under the shelter of the back deck at the Visitor’s Center….and then the rain stopped and the sun came out beautifully. Right! We gave the sky another look – more gray clouds to the west – and turned away from the trail and headed on back to the car and decided to drive west along those backroads that the nice volunteer had mentioned.

We meandered along the back roads through farm country for an hour or so without seeing much so we took a turn to the right at the first road we came to (not many choices) that headed back north to the Interstate. Once on the Interstate, we headed west to Kearney. We had decided to find our hotel for the next two nights and rest a bit before heading up to Rowe Sanctuary. And, what do you suppose we found all along the Interstate where stopping to look is not such a good idea when the speed limit is 75? You guessed it, Sandhill Cranes….everywhere in the fields along the north side of the highway.  Although we couldn’t exactly stop and spend time admiring the big birds, it was a relief to me (Jerry always knew they’d be there) to know that the Cranes had not yet departed on the rest of their migration.

And now it is time for GPS glitch number 3. It was another south-north issue with Route 10 that runs straight through Kearney. Our hotel was the Holiday Inn Express on the south side of town and on the other side of the Interstate but the GPS took us to the address on the north side and we found ourselves at Taco John’s with no hotel in sight.  Now, I have to ask myself why cities and postal authorities use the same address number for two sites on different sides of a highway when in actuality the two sites are less than two miles from each other. Seriously?  I’m not sure the GPS is at fault here.

Well, at any rate, there was a very large Holiday Inn with a huge convention center about a mile from the wrong address so we stopped in and asked about the Holiday Inn Express which was just a little over spitting distance down the road. While we were there, we asked how a small town like Kearney could support so many hotels and a Convention Center no less. Well, there’s a rather simple explanation. Remember in Day 2 that I wrote about the Lincoln Highway running from NYC to San Francisco?  It turns out that Kearney, Nebraska is just about halfway to San Francisco so in the early days of the highway, Kearney became a big check point for people traveling on the highway.  But that still doesn’t really explain why there are so many hotels there today. Then again, it does. If you are a large corporation with offices all across the US and you’re looking for a spot about halfway to have those corporate wide meetings and retreats, then Kearney is the place for you. Now, I’m not saying that there’s a lots to do around Kearney but it is just about halfway across America.  (Per Google, the actual median is just a few more miles west at an even smaller town called Cozad. It seems Kearney is about halfway if you’re measuring “train” miles which were what was being measured back at the turn of the century when someone decided Kearney was the halfway point.)

At last, we found the hotel, checked in and, after a couple hours resting and a light supper, we headed out to make our appointment at the Sanctuary.

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary.

It was just about an hour before dusk when we checked in at the Sanctuary which sits right on the South Platte River. The only people allowed into the Sanctuary in the evenings are those who have reservations. We gathered with the others in the visitor’s center for a short video about the Sanctuary and the Cranes and an overview of what we should expect and how we should behave – no talking above a whisper on the trail or in the blinds, no repeat-clicks on our cameras, phones muted, photographs only when the guides allowed, no flashlights other than the red filtered ones used by the guides, no noise whatsoever, etc.  The photographers who had paid for the special full night viewing (really?) set out first and headed to their blind. Then a smaller family group left and everyone remaining formed the largest group that included us. With some excitement, we headed out to the blind. We had about a half mile walk and were soon quietly settled at our spots in the blind. After a bit of shuffling for the best views (I went for the sunset view), we were all accommodated and the wait began. At this point, the river was quiet and there really wasn’t much going on so we waited….and we waited…and we watched the sun slowly start sinking down towards the river. After about 20 minutes of waiting, most everyone left their viewing spots unguarded and decided to wait on the benches provide. I sat while Jerry guarded our spot….he’s good like that.

While we waited, we birded – there was a great kingfisher and some Canada Geese and a few birds here and there. Then we were wowed by a Bald Eagle swooping in and then a Northern Harrier. Everybody and every predator was there waiting for the birds to come on down to the river.

And then they came. At first, there was just a few Cranes and then a few more and then a few flocks and then more and then hundreds and then thousands. Where had they all been when we were out riding down dusty dirt roads this afternoon? Oh yeah…over by the Interstate.

The birds just kept coming. The guide told us that probably about half of the Cranes had already departed north on their migration so there were maybe about a quarter of a million left in Nebraska. During the day, they scattered to the countryside to graze on the leftover grains and corn in the fields but at night, they all gathered together for protection on the river. And the Platte River was just perfect for this. It is a wide river – some say “a mile wide and an inch deep” – and it is very shallow with hundreds of tiny sandbars where the Cranes come to roost for the night.  Because of the sandbars, the river is said to be “braided” running here and there around these sandy islands….like many of the rivers in Nebraska.

As the Cranes came in, they started to land on the sandbars, first one and then another and by the time we lost all light, the islands were covered with birds all settling in and preening and chattering among themselves. The sounds of the birds talking and calling out to each other had been overwhelming at points. The whole scene was just breathtakingly beautiful. The sounds of the Cranes chattering followed us as we quietly stowed our cameras, left the blind and headed back to the visitor center. We had been amazed and awed by this show….a show that had been occurring annually every year since the dawn of time…. a marvelous display of one of God’s wonderful creations!

We headed back to the hotel – mission accomplished and then some.

(The cost for viewing the Cranes at the Sanctuary is $20 per person and reservations have to be made well in advance….we had made our reservations way back in early January….best $40 I’ve spent in quite some time!)

Itinerary:

April 3 – Baltimore, MD to Omaha, NE (via Minneapolis, MN): 1153 Miles

April 4 – Omaha to Grand Island (via Route 30): 160 Miles

April 5 – Grand Island to Kearney (via Interstate 80): 49 Miles

Sites Visited Thus Far:

ADM Grain Company Driveway (Day 2)

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary (D3)

Crane Trust (D3)

Eagle Scout Park (D3)

Freemont State Recreation Area (SRA) (D2)

Higgins Memorial (D2)

Mormon Island State Recreation Area (SRA) (D3)

Townsley-Murdock Trail Site (D2)

Birds Spotted On The Trip Thus Far – Total Species Identified – 36:

American Bald Eagle         American Coot                      American Crow

American Goldfinch         American Kestrel                   American Robin

Belted Kingfisher            Canada Goose                           Common Grackle

Dark-Eyed Junco            Double-Crested Cormorant   Eurasian Collared Dove

European Starling          Feral Pigeon                              House Finch

House Sparrow               Killdeer                                       Lesser Yellowlegs

Mallard                             Mourning Dove                         Northern Cardinal

Northern Harrier            Northern Shoveler                   Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Winged Blackbird  Ring-Billed Gull                       Ross’s Goose 

Ruddy Duck                     Sandhill Crane                         Scaup, Lesser & Greater

Snow Goose                     Song Sparrow                           Tree Swallow  

Wild Turkey                     Wood Duck

Nebraska Trifecta & More (Day 2)

April 28th, 2017 4 comments

If you missed Day 1 of this series, you can catch up here (Nebraska Trifecta & More – Day 1).

The plan for the day was to find our way to Route 30 also known as the Lincoln Highway and travel across Nebraska westward and then south towards Grand Island.  The Lincoln Highway was first transcontinental roads and runs from Times Square in NYC passing through fourteen states on its way to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, CA.

The map shows Route 30 running right along the Platte River and, knowing that the Platte River was where the Sandhill Cranes were supposed to be, it made sense to take a road that tracked with the river across the eastern part of Nebraska. And, according to Google Maps, the distance between Omaha and Grand Island along Route 30 would be 160 miles with “no traffic” which would take approximately three and a half hours.  Now, that “no traffic” was music to my ears. It seemed to be just the kind of road that we loved – a back road along a river. Much has changed since the Lincoln Highway was the only highway across the state headed east & west.

I had determined that, all things considering, the best way to get to Route 30 was to go right through the middle of Omaha via Route 6 also known in town as Dodge Street.  I came up with an address in Omaha on the GPS and plugged it into and we were ready to go. I just wanted to get to Dodge Street which seemed to run straight through Omaha…it was only a few miles, maybe ten, and Omaha was not too large and we were well past rush hour when we headed out so it shouldn’t be too difficult or take too long. We turned right out of the hotel and then about a mile later, we turned left just before the bridge at the Missouri and there we were, right in the middle of a riverfront park. What better place to bird than a park right on a river!

We were less than a mile from the hotel and were at our first stop.  You can see why it takes us so long to get anywhere on our road trips. We do quite a bit of meandering. Our current record for most time taken to get someplace is a 2005 trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Most people can do that trip from Annapolis, Maryland in a good six hours but we took just about four and a half days to get from our house to Kitty Hawk, NC. On this trip exploring eastern Nebraska, we only had three hard stops. We had to be in Gibbon at the Rowe Sanctuary at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, April 5th to see the Sandhill Cranes; we had to be at Calamus Outfitters in Burwell by 3:00 PM on Friday, April 7th for the Prairie Chicken festival; and we had to be back at Eppley Airfield in Omaha by 9:00 AM on April 11th for our flight home. Otherwise, we had time to explore. Like all vacations, it seemed like we’d have plenty of time for meandering but, by the time we headed home, we realized we didn’t have nearly enough time to do everything…… but it was enough altogether.

But, back to the birding at Miller’s Landing at the Park along Riverfront Road in Omaha. The park was very birdy this morning and a lovely spot on the river. We did not see any new birds; most were the common birds we see in the eastern part of the US.

We did see a lovely red squirrel with fuzzy ears that we had never seen before back east. We also saw the first of what would be hundreds of American Robins – Nebraska seems to be crawling with Robins in the spring. On the other hand, we started to notice that there was a bird species that is so ubiquitous back east that we were not seeing – the Vulture – neither Black nor Turkey Vultures were to be seen.

The park also included the first of several interpretive monuments we would see on our trip that identified the stops on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  You can take a “self-guided” tour of the whole expedition by following the stops on the Lewis & Clark Trail.  This first monument commemorated the expedition landing on the Missouri River here between Council Bluffs, IA and Omaha, NE.  There is also a beautiful suspension bridge – pedestrians only – here crossing the Missouri and seemingly connecting the two cities (we did not cross).

Then it was time to push on through Omaha and find our way to Route 30 (via Route 6/Dodge Street and Route 275 to Fremont).  Getting through Omaha was not bad – we didn’t travel through the city as quickly as I had hoped but, then again, it is the largest city in Nebraska so getting to the other side took a little time. We stopped along the way to get photos of a couple churches (one of my other photo vices which also include wildflowers and animals of any kind) and old buildings. We spotted the Mutual of Omaha building standing proudly above the others and, although we ate at a Perkins Restaurant one morning, we never spotted Marlin Perkins although I suppose it would have been creepy if we had since he died in 1986.

Before you knew it we were at Fremont and heading west on Route 30. We immediately got a feel for the prairie and for long flat lonely roads. We pondered how desolate it would have been to the pioneers traveling across this country with nothing in sight but more prairies – flat grasslands as far as the eye could see. And there were no roads back then – they just ran their wagons along a trail through the grasslands and, if the trail could not be determined by the wheel ruts of wagons that passed before, then the only alternative was to cross new ground.  On our last night at Calamus up near Burwell, a storyteller spoke at the festival. One of the things she spoke about in her “story” related to the endless days with no change in the scenery – day after day of pressing forward into the unknown – and the need to stay north of the river so that you never had to take the wagons across the river where they were most likely to get stuck in the wet sand and wetlands around the river. Alas, for the pioneers there were no roads and no bridges either.

And we’re back to the river – well, the road did follow right along the river but was about 2 miles away so we rarely saw the river at all. I scoured the maps to see if there were roads closer to the river that we could take – even for a few miles – but there really weren’t.  While there were side roads that appeared on the map to go down near the river, almost all were perpendicular to the river (i.e., they go down and then you turn around and come back) and very few ran parallel to the river.

I have to pause a moment and talk about roads in Nebraska.  If you’re in the city or on a highway or on a state road, you’re traveling on pavement but pretty much everything else is dirt. In the east we are used to dirt roads out in the boonies that are “rocked” with granite chips about once a year or so but, in Nebraska the side roads – and pretty much all of them are side roads – seem to be flat hard sand. If there are rocks mixed in with the sand, they must be very small pebbles which make sense in creating a hard surface on packed sand for automobiles and tractors. So, we learned quickly that getting off the main road meant getting onto a dirt road.

We also noticed right off that the railroad track does run parallel to the highway both running almost straight as an arrow towards the horizon. (Okay, that’s an old steam engine we found in Columbus…..no longer working, of course. On the other hand, we did see quite a few trains as we traveled west not to mention getting stopped at a crossing at least twice on the way.)

About every five miles (Jerry started tracking it), we would come to a set of large grain silos and a small community which seemed to be built on one side or another of the road and railroad track rather than all around the silos and on both sides of the road. And that was all. There might be a gas station or a convenience store but little else of note.

And we discovered that there are no WaWa’s in Nebraska and we only saw 7-11’s in the larger cities but there were plenty of Casey’s General Stores. Since WaWa is an east coast thing, I didn’t expect to see them but was surprised that there were few 7-11’s. For the most part, there were large farms and lots of tractors. I really do not recall seeing lots of McMansions along the way. There were some big old houses in some communities and some rather large ranch houses way out in the fields…..this was farm country, pure and simple.

We noticed a very large granary between Fremont and Columbus that I wanted to photograph. It was more of a grain processing plant I think by the size of it. The drive up to the granary turned out to be a pretty good birding spot since there were wetlands (unexpected) along the drive that added American Coots and Ruddy Ducks to our trip list.

Then we were back on the road again. We made a snack stop in Schuyler at a Casey’s (our first) and discovered they did not have ginger ale. How could that be? No ginger ale? So, we stopped at a Walmart (aren’t they everywhere?) in Columbus and finally found one two liter bottle of Seagram’s (I swear it was the only one). We asked a store clerk about Canada Dry Ginger Ale and got a bit of a blank stare before she directed us back to the soda section “if we have any” which they didn’t. It wasn’t until we got back to Omaha, well, actually Carter Lake, Iowa that we found a store that carried Canada Dry Ginger Ale.

Since we were at the Walmart, we grabbed a sandwich from Subway and headed to a memorial I had on my list of possible places to see on the trip. Route 30 hadn’t offered much by way of parks or preserves to see along the way. We did a quick drive-through at the Fremont State Recreational Area (SRA) but there wasn’t much there to see. It was more of a fishing and camping park that wasn’t very busy or birdy this time of year although the small lakes were nice.  So, although I hadn’t planned on stopping at the Higgins Memorial Park since it was more historical than parks related to birds, etc.,  we decided it might be a great place to take a break, look around, and have lunch. So, I plugged the address into the GPS and we headed to the park.

And, this is the spot that gave us our first GPS glitch. When you travel, there are always locations or addresses that can cause a little problem with the GPS and you end up either lost or just maybe taking a longer route than you had anticipated. So, we followed the GPS and ended up in a very nice park – with some of those little red squirrels with the fuzzy ears – with a dead end street that the GPS insisted we should follow. At GPS moments like this, I resort to Google Maps on my trusty smart phone – my unfailing back-up. I routed us through a neighborhood and over to the main road which we crossed and entered the park that included the memorial. It turns out that the underpass from one side of the park to the other was closed for repair so I really cannot blame the GPS – stuff like this happens. It is always good to have a back-up plan and a couple of paper maps.

The Higgins Memorial turned out to be quite interesting and the surrounding park was lovely on a beautiful spring day. It wasn’t too birdy this day so we contented ourselves eating lunch and checking out the Memorial. Andrew Higgins is credited with designing and building landing crafts that were used in World War II. You know these boats – they look like metal boxes with flat bottoms that are used to transports troops from ships to beaches that push up close to a beach and drop a ramp so that  the troops can come pouring out onto the beach ready for combat. The boats were especially useful in storming the beaches at Normandy on D-Day (June 6, 1944). According to the memorial and the website, Dwight D. Eisenhower (famous US General in WWII and the 34th US President from 1953 – 1961) called Andrew Higgins the man who won the war for us”. Since Higgins was born in Columbus and raised around the Platte and Loup Rivers where flat bottomed boats were typically used on the shallow rivers, the memorial is here at Columbus.

After Columbus, the road turned south and we headed on towards Grand Island our destination for the day. There weren’t a whole lot of parks along Route 30 but we did get a great feel for the land and the towns along the rivers.

There was one last site I wanted to visit before we called it a day and headed to a hotel – Townsley-Murdock Trail site. This is supposed to be the only place in Nebraska where you can actually still see the imprint of pioneer wagon wheel ruts in the grasslands. It is not a big site and not easy to find. But the guidebooks I had read had given me the crossroads and GPS coordinates and enough information to get us there. And still we passed it and had to go back since it is really not much more than a sign on the side of the road. But we found it and….well….I have to say, there isn’t much there except for that sign. It is supposed to be the one spot on the Mormon Trail near the Wood River Crossing that had not been disturbed since the pioneers used that route.

The wagon ruts are said to be visible in the swales of grass growing there but we had to really use our imagination to see what we might call wagon wheel ruts on the trail. There did appear to be something but it appeared that people had walked through the area so it was difficult to tell if the “rut” was from a pioneer wagon a hundred or so years ago or from a day-hiker last week. I thought about rummaging through the grass to see if I could find a rut underneath but that seemed like way too much trouble at the time and the authorities probably wouldn’t appreciate me digging at a monument site.

Finally, we headed on over to a hotel, checked in, and called it a day. Tomorrow we would explore some parks around Grand Island in hopes of finally seeing some Sandhill Cranes and maybe some more of those fuzzy eared squirrels.

Itinerary:

April 3 – Baltimore, MD to Omaha, NE (via Minneapolis, MN): 1153 Miles

April 4 – Omaha to Grand Island (via Route 30): 160 Miles

Sites Visited Thus Far:

ADM Grain Company Driveway

Freemont State Recreation Area (SRA)

Higgins Memorial

Townsley-Murdock Trail Site

 

Birds Spotted On The Trip Thus Far:

American Coot

American Robin

Canada Goose

Common Grackle

Double-Crested Cormorant

European Starling

House Sparrow

Killdeer

Mallard

Mourning Dove

Northern Cardinal

Red-Tailed Hawk

Ring-Billed Gull

Ruddy Duck

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