The Platte is the river of my childhood. Each time I make a pilgrimage to its banks, I'm reminded of the river system's rich human and natural history. A tributary of the Missouri River, which in turn is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico, the Platte is a slow flowing and braided stream with many islands. In 1739 two French explorers, Paul and Pierre Mallet, named it La Rivière Plate, or "flat river." The Platte falls along the middle of the central flyway a prime North-South corridor for migratory birds including trumpeter swans, tundra swans, Canada geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Canvasback ducks and others. Pelicans, too, use the flyway.
I took this photograph at sunset from the bridge crossing the river at South Bend. It's an iconic shot, in a way: two fisherman standing in the fading light, a backdrop of towering cottonwoods, and the calm, reflective waters.