This is one of the great wildlife refuges in America, and it supports a greater bird diversity than any other Nebraska site except the Lake McConaughy area. However, it is about 30 miles from the nearest source of gas, food, or lodging (Oshkosh or Lakeside), and one must plan accordingly. Take a tow rope if possible. Never park on bare sand. Rather, park or turn around on level or down-sloping ground, and grassy meadows if possible. Water and a toilet are available only at the refuge headquarters near the south entrance.
Goose Lake near the headquarters is excellent for eared grebes, and both Crescent Lake and Smith Lake have good populations of western grebes (and some Clark’s grebes). Rush Lake (just outside the refuge’s northwest boundary) has breeding ruddy ducks, canvasbacks, redheads and black-crowned night herons. The area near Border Lake (at the western refuge border) is best for avocets, black-necked stilts, cinnamon teal, Wilson’s phalaropes,white-faced ibis and other shorebirds attracted to saline water conditions. Always a possibility of seeing White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants and Trumpeter Swans. To get to Border Lake one will pass through an island of private land, a farmstead with a private residence. On most visits no other people will be seen, but the birding will be spectacular, and well worth the long ride over sand roads.