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  • Photograph of Sandhill Cranes

    Sandhill Cranes by Simon Colenutt.

    PLATTE RIVER, NEBRASKA

    Best Wildlife in the Platte River area

    Mammals
    A chance of Prairie Dog.

    Birds
    The species listed below are usually present during the early northern spring.
    Sandhill Crane, Ross’s Goose, Greater Prairie Chicken and Sharp-tailed Grouse, as well as Canada (Richardson’s Cackling) and Snow Geese, Blue-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, American White Pelican, Red-tailed Hawk (including Harlan’s morphs), Bald Eagle, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Baird’s Sandpiper, Burrowing Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, (Oregon) Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree and Harris’s Sparrows, Northern Cardinal, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Yellow-headed Blackbird and American Goldfinch. Also a chance of Whooping Crane (especially after mid-March), Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks, and Rusty Blackbird.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in the Platte River area

    Best Times for Wildlife in the Platte River area

    Crane numbers usually peak in late March which is also the beginning of the lekking season for prairie grouse. During this time it may be sunny or cold and windy with rain and even snow, and especially chilly first thing in the morning in the crane and grouse blinds (hides).

    Recommended Books etc. for the Platte River area

    Field Guide to the Birds of North America edited by J Dunn and J Alderfer. NGS, 2011 (Sixth Edition).

    Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America by K Kaufman. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

    The North American Bird Guide by D Sibley. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).

    Mammals of North America by R W Kays and D E Wilson. PUP, 2009 (Second Edition).

    Mammals of North America by F A Reid. Peterson North American Field Guides, 2006 (Fourth Edition).

    Peterson Field Guide to Finding Mammals in North America by V Dinets. Houghton Mifflin, 2015.

    Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by J Brock and K Kaufman. Houghton Mifflin, 2003.


    Apps etc.


    National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America.

    The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America.

    Peterson Birds of North America.

    Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds.

    iBird Ultimate Guide to Birds.

    Trip Reports for the Platte River area

    Many trip reports, some for the Platte River and nearby, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to the Platte River and nearby. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to the Platte River' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in the Platte River area

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in the Platte River area

    Some Organized Tours to the Platte River

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who are running organized tours to the Platte River in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.