All (Birding) Trails Lead to Keith County!
Ogallala and Keith County are known for their location at the intersection of several historic trails. After all, this is where the east/west Oregon Trail, Pony Express Trail, and the first transcontinental railroad met up with the Texas/Great Western Cattle Trail that came north from Texas beginning in the 1870s.
But did you know that bird trails also overlap here? According to Olivia DaRugna, watchable wildlife biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, eastern and western varieties of birds love to meet at Lake McConaughy, the state’s largest reservoir. “It’s a big body of water in the middle of the prairie, so you’re going to get rarities from the east and west making an appearance,” DaRugna says. The lake usually provides some open water all winter long, which concentrates a large number of species in one area.
The Lake Mac area boasts the largest bird list of any location in the state, including about 340 species, with at least 104 known breeders, and about 200 transients.
In the fall, DaRugna says birdwatchers may spot unusual gulls at the lake,