Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

This SRA occupies much of the north shore of Lake McConaughy, the largest body of water in Nebraska. A small area on the south shore is also included. This area has the largest bird list of any location in the state, including about 340 species, with 104 known breeders, 17 additional possible breeders, and about 200 transients.

The large water area attracts vast numbers of migrant waterfowl, grebes (especially western grebes), gulls (including many rarities) and shorebirds. A good spotting scope is needed to cover this vast (but recently declining) reservoir, but many of the waterfowl congregate near the spillway during winter, or (in the summer) toward the western end of the lake (see Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area). Large numbers of bald eagles also build up in winter, attracted by dead fish and the wintering duck and goose populations. A eagle viewing heated building is below he spillway. Well over 100 miles of shoreline are present along the lake, with the southern shoreline rocky and steep, and the northern shore sandy, and support nesting piping plovers and least terns. A free modern interpretive center emphasizing water ecology on the south side of the dam is worth a visit.