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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Nebraska: The Sandhills and the Platte River

Cranes and Prairie Grouse

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES: Non-US citizens need a valid passport and may need a tourist visa. Consult your nearest US Embassy or consulate for details. Canadian citizens should carry proof of citizenship in the form of a passport.

PACE OF THE TOUR: Most of the tour takes place on level ground, with much of our birding on roads and wide trails. We will often be out in the field shortly after dawn, which sometimes requires a drive of 30 minutes or more. With the exceptions noted in the itinerary, we’ll eat breakfast before starting. Very early mornings will be followed by an especially hearty breakfast. Lunch will be at fast-food restaurants, sandwich shops or cafes. We will generally have a break before dinner to rest and clean up. 

HEALTH: The Platte River region presents no real hazards to the visiting birdwatcher. Staying warm and dry in the changeable weather of an early Nebraska spring is the most important consideration. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a nonsmoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous:  Even in warm years, biting insects are scarce to non-existent at this season. Wood ticks, however, some of which carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever or other serious illnesses, may be present; they are best avoided by staying on paths and trails and out of tall grass.

CLIMATE: The Platte region in March experiences a wide range of weather conditions. It can be cold and windy, with temperatures in the 10- 20F range, but mild, sunny weather with readings from the 50s to 70s F is just as likely. Rain and snow are possible at any time, but rarely last more than a day at this time of year. Be prepared for cool to cold temperatures and wind, and be grateful when it turns out to be pleasant. 

Our early morning in the grouse blind is likely to be downright cold, and you will want to wear your warmest clothing; consider bringing a small blanket or thick towel to sit on, and put chemical hand warmers in your gloves and boots a couple of hours before we start out. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: We will be staying at standard, comfortable motels with telephone,WiFi  internet, and the usual amenities. Cell phone service can be elusive in the Sandhills. 

FOOD: Our motel breakfasts are the standard modest buffets. We’ll go out for heartier fare after our dawn excursions to watch cranes and grouse. Lunches will be at sandwich shops, cafes, or Runza Hut, Nebraska’s delicious contribution to the world of fast food. Our dinner destinations will include local restaurants and steakhouses.

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: We will be traveling by leader-driven 12- or 15-passenger window van or by minivan, depending on the size of the group. Participants will change seats each day and should be able to ride in any seat in the tour vehicle.

Updated: 04 April 2017