Date of this Version
"Survey for Least Terns and Other Birds on the North and South Platte Rivers, Eastern Keith County," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1990) 58(3).
SURVEY FOR LEAST TERNS ANO OTHER BIROS ON THE NORTH ANO SOUTH PLATTE RIVERS, EASTERN KEITH COUNTY
The Interior Least Tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos) is considered a nationally endangered subspecies, and except for a sighting of this form on Lake McConaughy during the summer of 1977 by Fretwell (Rosche and Johnsgard, 1984) and a more recent sighting of a pair with an unfledged chick between Arthur and Martin bays of Lake McConaughy in 1989 (Czaplewski, 1989), there have been no other published records of this species in Keith County.
Because of a chance sighting on 20 May 1990, of two Least Terns flying along the South Platte River as I was crossing a bridge near Roscoe on my way to Cedar Point Biological Station (near Kingsley Dam), I decided to undertake a survey of the North and South Platte Rivers in that vicinity, with the aid of my ornithology class. Six students (Tim Cramer, Andy Didrichsons, Steve Lamphere, Misti MacDowell, Ue Thao and Carol Thompson) undertook a detailed survey of the North Platte River from the bridge just south of Keystone to the Union Pacific railway bridge five miles northwest of Paxton, a river distance of ten miles. This section of river was surveyed three times by them between 25 May and 28 May 1990, on foot, and with canoe and boat. Additionally, the 2.5-mile section from the railroad bridge to the highway bridge over the North Platte directly north of Paxton was surveyed once by this same group of students, and the two-mile section of river from the diversion dam feeding the Sutherland canal at the east end of Keystone lake to the Keystone bridge was surveyed once by the entire ornithology class (19 persons) on 31 May. Results of counts of these two shorter sections are not included in the later species listing.