Nebraskaland June 2019

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 40 of 63

June 2019 • Nebraskaland 41 Nebraska did an excellent job in 1929 picking its state bird, the western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). Its boisterous song, such as this sunrise rendition at Peterson Wildlife Management Area, has surely lifted many a spirit throughout generations on the Great Plains – including photographers. The First 99 O n e s h u t t e r - b u t t o n p r e s s a t a t i m e , t h e b i r d p h o t o s a d d u p . hat the Nebraska Panhandle may lack in diversity of bird life when compared to eastern Nebraska it more than makes up for in its varied landscape. That variation, from the towering sandstone buttes through the pine forests, sandhill lakes, riparian woodlands, grasslands, croplands and even residential areas, is home to a diversity of birds, and some bird- watching gems found nowhere else in the state. Joel Jorgensen, nongame bird program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, said many birdwatchers from the east are often attracted to the Panhandle to see western specimens such as the red crossbill or pygmy nuthatch. "You have a number of western species that creep into the far western part of Nebraska and that makes it attractive to a lot of birders," Jorgensen said. "Places like Sowbelly Canyon, Monroe Canyon and the Oglala National Grassland harbor a lot of species not found in other parts of the state." Birds deserve a lot of credit for making me a wildlife photographer. When I invested in a 500mm lens about W STORY AND PHOTOS BY JUSTIN HAAG

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