Site Description: The North Platte River Valley Important Bird Area is made up of three properties: Lake McConaughy, Lake Ogallala, and Cedar Point Biological Station.
Lake McConaughy is Nebraska’s largest lake at almost 22 miles long, three miles wide, covering 35,000 surface acres. It was created as a result of the building of Kingsley Dam on the North Platte River. Pumping from the downstream side of the dam formed the 600-acre Lake Ogallala.
Cedar Point Biological Station is a 1,000-acre research site operated by the University of Nebraska on the south shore of Lake Ogallala. It is a mixture of cedar-forested canyons, rugged bluffs, and rolling uplands of shortgrass and mixed-grass prairie.
Ornithological Summary: The bird list for the two recreation areas stands at 313 species. The large expanse of water at LM is particularly noteworthy, as it attracts thousands of migrating waterbirds, particularly Western Grebes and Common Mergansers. For a touch of pelagic birding in the nation’s heartland, fifteen species of gulls, five species of terns, four loon species, and three jaeger species have been recorded. The almost 100 miles of shoreline provides critical nesting areas for Piping Plovers and Interior Least Terns, as well as outstanding viewing opportunities for a wide array of shorebirds, including Whimbrels, Snowy Plovers, Baird’s Sandpipers, and Sanderlings. Whooping Crane sightings have been generally at the lake’s west end. Winter brings in hundreds of Bald Eagles.
For more information, call or write Kevin Poague, Important Bird Areas Coordinator, Audubon Nebraska, P.O. Box 117, 11700 SW 100th Street, Denton, NE 68339 402-797-2301, Fax: 402-797-2304.