~  SOUTHEAST REGION  ~


(CORRECTIONS and ADDITIONS as of JUNE 2017)


Boldface type indicates new revisions since the previous update (March 2017); these are in Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, Carver, and Todd counties.



Principal Birding Locations (p. 125)

 

On the Migration map, "s" is Mille Lacs Lake; on the Summer/Breeding map, "s" is St. John's University, "t" is Lake Osakis, and "u" is Crane Meadows NWR.


Faribault County (p. 126)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Blue Earth – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.

Delavan – From downtown, 0.5 mile north and 1 mile west on County Road 15 to the curve, continue 0.1 mile west on 200th Street to gate, then 0.4 mile south.

 

Frost – 4 blocks south on Howard Street to railroad tracks, then 0.3 mile east.


Walters – 0.3 mile west on 85th Street / County Road 30.

 

Wells – The ponds off County Road 29 no longer exist; the ponds off Highway 109 are still present.

 

Winnebago – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.


Freeborn County (p. 127)

 

Myre-Big Island State Park (site 1) has been reliable in recent years for Henslow's Sparrows and other species partial to grasslands and prairie thickets: e.g., Willow Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Grasshopper and Clay-colored sparrows, Bobolink, and Orchard Oriole. Listen especially along the main park drive south of the road to White Fox Campground.


The woodlands in White Woods County Park are worth checking for migrant passerines (and possibly roosting owls), especially in the large planted conifers along the left fork of the park road. The unsigned park entrance is on the northwest side of Highway 169, 1.2 miles southwest of Twin Lakes.  


Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Conger – 0.6 mile north and 0.4 mile east on unmarked road to the ponds.

 

Hartland – 0.2 mile north on Railroad Street along west side of tracks, then jog right and continue 0.5 mile north.

 

Twin Lakes – 2 blocks east on Main Street to River Street, then 0.5 mile southeast.


Mower County (p. 128)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Austin – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.

 

Brownsdale – 1.2 miles north from County Road 2 on Highway 56, then 0.3 mile west.

 

Elkton – 0.5 mile north to 220th Street, then 0.5 mile east and 0.2 mile south.

 

Grand Meadow – 0.5 mile south from Highway 16 on Fourth Street N.E. to behind the maintenance garage, then 0.7 mile east.

 

Lyle – 0.6 mile east from Highway 218 on 105th Street (to north side of the ponds) or on State Line Road (to south side).


Rose Creek – 0.6 mile west from County Road 19 on Highway 56, then 0.2 mile south and west on unmarked two-track road.


Sargeant – 0.4 mile west to 620th Avenue, then 0.7 mile south and 0.3 mile east on unmarked road.


Fillmore County (p. 129-131)

 

The two best areas for woods birds (e.g., Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush) at Forestville State Park (site A1) are along Forestville Creek (near the park's west entrance and contact station) and Canfield Creek (immediately east of the contact station, turn south on the road which dead-ends at the group campground, and hike south on Big Spring Trail). In 2013 Forestville State Park could only be accessed from the west off County Road 5 due to a washed-out bridge on County Road 118 on the north side of the park.


The access road to Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center (site B2) has been renamed Goodview Road.

 

Henslow's Sparrows have been found in the weedy field at Hvoslef Wildlife Management Area (see directions, p. 131). There are also two good heavily wooded areas just north of Hvoslef WMA:


     • Return to County Rd 23, go north 2.6 miles to County Road 12, then east on 12 for 2.3 miles, bear left on the gravel

       road where 12 curves south, and 1 mile north is the Cabbage Rock / Shattuck Creek area.

     • Return to County Road 12, go left or southeast 0.5 mile, and turn right or south on a minimum maintenance road

       which leads downhill about 2 miles to the Root River.

 

Another good area for woods birds is Good Earth Village, a religious retreat near Spring Valley which is open to birders. From the junction of Highways 16 and 63 in Spring Valley (see inset C), go north 2 blocks on County Road 1 to Farmer Street / County Road 8, turn east on 8 past the fish hatchery ponds, and continue another 4.3 miles northeast on County 8 to the Good Earth sign. Follow the driveway to the main lodge where trail maps are available; the best areas are along the south end of the Fish Trail and the north end of the Clover Trail.


Kappers’ Ponds (site 3) is now under new ownership, but birders can still access the site if they text the property owner, Pat McHale, at 612 860 1545 just before their visits – texts only please; no phone calls. He will then text a response only if access is not possible at the time; no response means it is OK to enter. Please do not enter the ponds without texting Mr. McHale in advance.   


Houston County (p. 132-136)

 

The area in southern Houston County for Northern Bobwhites (site A2) can no longer be recommended. After thorough research, it has been determined that the species has been essentially extirpated from Minnesota as a "wild" bird, with any bobwhites sighted presently or in recent years all presumed to have originated from local game farm releases.

 

On inset B, County Road 29 leading north out of La Crescent and continuing northwest as Winona County Road 1 is the Apple Blossom Scenic Drive. It is not only scenic, but this road also has places to scan for raptors and other migrants above the Mississippi River, and it passes thickets and fields with potential for such rarities as Bell's Vireo and Henslow's Sparrow. The main stoplight intersection in La Crescent is where Highway 16 / 14 / 61 turns east towards La Crosse. From this intersection, take the frontage road on the west side of the highway (Walnut Street) 1 block north to Third Street, then go 2 blocks west to Elm Street, and then north on Elm which becomes the Scenic Drive.

 

The marshy wetlands at Mound Prairie (site B5) appeared drier than normal in spring 2004 and were unproductive for water birds. However, a large nearby wetland appears to be potentially as good as Mound Prairie used to be: it is located along the north side of Highway 16, 3.4 miles west of the Highway 44 junction in Hokah.

 

In the Reno area (sites C6), Tundra Swans have been congregating along the Mississippi River by the thousands in recent Novembers, their numbers normally much greater than in the Weaver area of Wabasha/Winona counties. Estimates of the swan numbers here have been as high as 20,000. The best places to scan for them and other waterfowl are between mile markers 9 and 12 along Highway 26, or about 1-3 miles north of Reno.

 

The road out of Reno to the recreation area campground and beyond is now named Hillside Road, where Tufted Titmouse and Cerulean Warbler have been found, especially within the first half mile beyond the campground. It is worth following this road north for about 4 miles to another recreation area campground, and in about another 4 miles Hillside Road comes out on County Road 3, a mile west of Brownsville (see inset B).


Winona County (p. 137-141)

 

The wooded trail at Donehower at mile marker 13 on Highway 61 (site C1) was posted as closed to public entry as of spring 2006.


The Trout Run Creek Trail at Whitewater State Park is now a better location for Louisiana Waterthrush and other Southeast Region specialties: turn east at the Nature Store and follow the road to the trailhead at the South Picnic Area.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Lewiston – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.


Rollingstone – 0.5 mile east from County Road 25 S. on Highway 248, then 0.3 mile south.


Wabasha County (p. 141-143)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Kellogg – 0.5 mile east from downtown on Winona Avenue, then right at the T to the ponds.


Zumbro Falls – 0.2 mile east from Highway 63 on Highway 60 to 373rd Avenue, then northeast to second driveway on right, continue through gate 100 yards east to first left on small two-track road, unhook fence wire, and continue 0.3 mile north.


Olmsted County (p. 144-145)


The address for Bob Ekblad's birding website is now http://birding-minnesota.com.


Dodge County (p. 146)


For reasons unknown, a few Snowy Owls have been consistent in recent winters in the southwestern part of the county a few miles north of Highway 30: scan the fields and utility poles west of County Road 3 to the Steele County line, mostly between 680th and 710th Streets.


Steele County (p. 146-147)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

Medford – From the Interstate 35 exit, 0.4 mile south on west frontage road to County Road 12, then 1.3 miles west to western-most street in trailer home community, and 0.3 mile north.


Waseca County (p. 147)

 

Moonan Marsh is said to be the best wetland in the county, as evidenced by two Common Moorhen broods here in 2006 and Sandhill Cranes recently nesting in the area. From downtown Waseca, go 1.5 miles east on Highway 14 to County Road 4, then about 4 miles northeast to the site, with the best visibility on the east side of 4.

 

One of the county’s best sites for migrant woods birds is Courthouse County Park: from downtown Waseca, go 3.5 miles south on Highway 13, then 0.7 mile west to County Road 4, then 0.5 mile south to County Road 75, and 0.5 mile west. Another good wooded site is Maplewood Park just east of Waseca on County Road 4, on the southeast side of Clear Lake.

 

Bell’s Vireos were still present in 2006 at the Senn-Rich Wildlife Management Area on the west side of Highway 13, about 6 miles south of Waseca. Look especially in the southeast corner of the WMA and west of the county’s brush/compost site just north of the WMA.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Janesville – South from Highway 14 on County Road 3 to the 380th Avenue frontage road, then 1 mile west. 


Waseca – From downtown, 3 blocks west from Highway 13 on County Road 14 / Elm Avenue to 4th Street S.W., 0.8 mile south to County Road 40 / 350th Avenue, then 1.4 mile west and 0.3 mile north.


Blue Earth County (p. 148-149)

 

Kentucky Warblers were also found at Williams Nature Center (site A1) in 2001 and were still present in 2007 (but not in more recent years).

 

Louisiana Waterthrush can also be found in Minneopa State Park (site A1) along Minneopa Creek. Most of the grasslands habitat in the open area at Minneopa State Park is now part of a bison enclosure, which is now difficult to bird because visitors have to remain in their vehicles.


Some of the grasslands around Kasota Prairie (in Le Sueur County; site A2) have been destroyed or fragmented by sand mining operations, and the road leading north and east from Kasota Prairie now comes to a dead-end and no longer connects to County Road 21.    


The road along the Minnesota River's woodlands on the Nicollet County side (see inset A) is Judson Bottom Road, which begins on the west side of North Mankato: from Highway 169, turn west on Lookout Drive (the first exit on the north side of the river), go 0.5 mile to the first intersection and turn south on to Judson Bottom Road / County Road 71, and continue west as the road eventually becomes County Road 41 and continues into Nicollet County's inset D.  

 

The extensive tracts of junipers, rock outcroppings, and grasslands on the Le Sueur County portion of inset A just north and south of Kasota Prairie Scientific and Natural Area (site A2) look just as good as (or even better than) the SNA for birding. Also check for Prothonotary Warblers along the creeks and Minnesota River backwaters in this vicinity, especially just north of the Le Sueur/Blue Earth county line.


Cobb River Waterfowl Production Area has a good mix of habitats which has attracted over 200 species during migration and summer, including Short-eared Owl, Loggerhead Shrike, Henslow's, Le Conte's and Nelson's Sparrows. There are three access points north of County Road 4, which turns east off Highway 22, 2.5 miles north of Mapleton: along 586th Avenue (1 mile east of 22); along County Road 16 (3 miles east of 22); and along 597th Lane (3.5 miles east of 22).


The sod farm 6 miles east of Mapleton or 6 miles north of Minnesota Lake have attracted Buff-breasted Sandpipers in early fall; they are located just west of County Road 14 along County Road 21.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Pemberton – 0.5 mile south on County Road 53 to 156th Street, 1 mile west to 622nd Avenue, and continue 0.4 mile west from south end of curve.

Vernon Center – East from Highway 169 on Main Street to the end, then south around buildings for 0.2 mile.


Nicollet County (p. 150-151)

 

The two best access points from which to scan Swan Lake (inset D) are on its southeast side: from the junction of Highways 111 and 14 in Nicollet, go 1 mile west on 14 and turn north to the lake at the Nicollet Conservation Club sign; the other access turns north off Highway 14, 1.3 miles farther west. As shown on inset D, there are several roads by the west and north sides of the lake, but to scan the lake from these roads involves some trial-and-error since the water levels, shoreline, and access points frequently change.


One of the best access points for Middle Lake (also on inset D) is just north of Nicolett: from the junction of Highways 99 and 111, go 1 mile north on 111, and hike east and north from here on the two-track road which leads to the southwest side of the lake.


A good area in recent years for shorebirds and other water birds has often been a private pond 4 miles north of Nicollet, which is visible from the east side of Highway 111.


Sibley County (p. 151-152)

 

Amended directions to the Rush River area (now a county park): from Henderson, go 3 blocks south on 5th Street / County Road 93, southwest on Ridge Road to South Street, west on South Street to the T at 300th Street, then south and west on 300th for 1.3 miles to Rush River Park Road, which leads to the park and additional riparian woodlands farther west.


Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Gaylord – The best ponds are 0.6 mile south from Highway 5 / 19 on Highway 22, then 0.6 mile east on 280th Street; smaller and less productive ponds are 1.1 miles east on Highway 5 / 19 to Tower Street, then 0.2 mile south.

 

Gibbon – The only ponds are off Highway 19 east of town (disregard the other directions to other ponds).


Le Sueur – These ponds are no longer in use and are being drained, although the extensive weedy fields may attract sparrows and other grasslands birds, while ponds and mudflats may still be present during rainy periods and spring snowmelt. There is an access road 1/2 mile west of the Minnesota River on Highway 169.


New Auburn – 0.7 mile west from Highway 22 on Fifth Street, then 0.2 mile south.


Le Sueur County (p. 152-153)


One of the best lakes in the county recently has been Eggert Lake (where Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were seen in 2016): from Montgomery, go 2 miles west on County Road 26, then 1.7 miles north on County Road 30 and east on 334th Street to the lake. And just northwest of here is a shallow pond that is often attractive to shorebirds: from Eggert Lake, backtrack to County Road 30, go 1.3 miles north to County Road 28, then 3 miles west and 1 mile north on 211th Street.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Cleveland – From west side of town, 0.4 mile northwest on County Road 148, then 0.2 mile north.

 

Elysian – 0.7 mile north from Highway 60 on County Road 11, then 0.7 mile northeast on County Road 14.


St. Peter (Nicollet Co.) – There is no longer any access to these Le Sueur Co. ponds.


Rice County (p. 153-154)


The "Lower Arb" or northern part of Carleton College's Cowling Arboretum has the best habitats for birding: it is on the north side of Highway 19, west of Canada Avenue, and east of the Cannon River. For trail maps and other information, the office is on the south side of 19 just northeast of the main college campus.


During the last few years in late summer/early fall, Buff-breasted Sandpipers have been attracted to the sod farm 7 miles east of Faribault at the junction of Highway 60 and Ibson Avenue.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Lonsdale – 0.5 mile east from Main Street on Highway 19, then 0.2 mile southwest on Industrial Drive and 0.2 mile south on Industrial Park Drive.


Goodhue County (p. 154-157)

 

Amended directions to Colville Park in Red Wing (site A2): going southeast from Red Wing on Highway 61, turn right at the signs for Highway 262 and "City Park", take an immediate right and turn right again at the Colville Park sign, and turn at the bottom of the hill into the park.

 

There are some heavily wooded spots for warblers and other migrants in Red Wing along the road past Barn Bluff. Follow the street off Highway 61 (E. Seventh Street) leading to the turn-off for Colville Park, continue west past Colville to Centennial Street, at the Barn Bluff signs turn right to Fifth Street, and then right again past Barn Bluff until the road dead-ends by the river beyond the power plant.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Cannon Falls – 1 mile north on Highway 20 / 4th Street N., then 0.4 mile west on County Road 17.

 

Kenyon – East from downtown on County Road 12 until it curves southeast, then continue east on 2nd Street to the city maintenance yard on Gates Avenue, and jog east and north to the ponds.


Dakota County (p. 157-159)

 

A reliable spot for Prothonotary Warblers has been on the east side of the Vermillion River, adjacent to the public access area on County Road 68 (see inset C).


Just southeast of Murphy-Hanrehan Park is Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville where breeding Cerulean Warbler, Henslow's Sparrow, and other Southeast Region specialties occur: exit off I-35 at 185th Street, go east to the Kenrick Avenue frontage road, then 1 mile south to 195th Street and west to the park entrance. The best woodlands for Ceruleans is reportedly along the trail south of Shelter #3; see park map at http://ci.lakeville.mn.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1119.

 

Amended directions to birding access points around Lake Byllesby (site 2):


     • To reach the west side: turn at the public access sign on Highway 56 a mile south of Randolph, which leads you on

       Scotia Trail and 23rd Avenue Way for 1.4 miles east and north to a parking area.

     • On the north side along County Road 88 / 292nd Street: turn south into the cemetery, 0.5 mile east of Highway 56,

       and follow the road back to the right and then left to the lake shore.

     • To reach the east side: turn south off County Road 88 on Gerlach Way, 2.7 miles east of Highway 56, which leads to

       Lake Byllesby Regional Park; besides lake access, the park also has some good stands of junipers. (Or from Cannon

       Falls, go north 1 mile from Highway 19 on 4th Street N. to 295th Street, then west 1.5 mile to the park sign, and south

       and west into the park.)


Some birding habitat still remains at Great Western Industrial Park just north of Lake Byllesby, where Gray Partridge, raptors, shorebirds, longspurs, pipits, sparrows, and a variety of other open-country species have been reported during migration. Go 0.8 mile north from Randolph on Highway 56, then west on 284th Street E., and scan the fields and seasonal ponds on both sides of the road.   

 

Water levels in a wetland along 180th Street just north of Vermillion are often low and attractive to herons/egrets, shorebirds, and marsh birds. From Highway 52, go 2.7 miles east on 180th Street; or from Goodwin Avenue / County Road 85, go 0.5 mile west on 180th.

 

The sod farms along Blaine Avenue are the Jirik Sod Farms. Amended directions to the Castle Rock Sod Farms: along the west side of Highway 3, just south of County Road 86 / 280th Street.


Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Hampton – 0.3 miles northwest on Highway 50.


Scott County (p. 159-161)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

New Market – 0.7 mile east on County Road 2, 0.5 mile north on Natchez Avenue/County Road 91, then east 0.5 mile.


Carver County (p. 162-163)

 

The Crane Creek area (inset B) may still be worth checking for shorebirds and other water birds, but unfortunately it is no longer as productive as in former years due to higher water levels and vegetation overgrowing the former mudflats.


Tiger Lake, one of the best wetlands in the county, now has improved access from the parking lot on the southwest side of the lake (turn north off Highway 212, 1.5 miles west of the Highway 5 / 25 junction in Norwood-Young America). Recent fall sightings include Nelson's and Le Conte's sparrows in the marshes.


Another good wetland is Wahibo Marsh just west of Lake Waconia, along County Road 10 just north of County Road 30; recent records include Least Bittern, White-faced Ibis, and American Avocet.    


One of the best areas of woodlands along the Minnesota River in the county is around Chaska Lake, where Acadian Flycatcher and Prothonotary Warbler sometimes summer. From Highway 41 in Chaska, take W. First Street to the west edge of town, turn south just before the railroad tracks to the ballfields, and follow the hiking trail behind the ballfields south to the lake and eventually west into the town of Carver.

 

South of Carver, Orchard Orioles and the local Lark Sparrow can be found in summer. Just west of town, turn south off County Road 40 on County Road 45, and listen for the orioles in semi-open areas between 45 and the river. The best place for Lark Sparrows is beyond the gated east end of Carver Highlands Drive, which turns east at the junction of County Roads 45 and 50.

 

In addition to the Whip-poor-wills and Prothonotary Warblers mentioned for the gated trail off County Road 40 just east of Highway 25 (see p. 163), there are recent summer records for Bell’s Vireo, Cerulean Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush.

 

In Carver Park Reserve (site 1), the best deciduous woodlands are said to be along the trails north of Steiger Lake, where Cerulean Warblers have occurred; trail maps are available at Lowry Nature Center.


McLeod County (p. 163)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Silver Lake – 1.5 miles east on Highway 7 to Grain Avenue, then 1 mile north, 0.2 mile west, and 0.4 mile south.

 

Stewart – From the northwest corner of town, 0.8 mile north on Yankee Avenue.


Winsted – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.


Wright County (p. 164-165)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Albertville – 2 blocks east from Interstate 35 on 60th Street N.E., then 0.2 mile north on Maciver Avenue.


Annandale – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.


Cokato – From Highway 12 on east side of town, 1.3 miles northeast on County Road 4, then 0.3 mile east.

 

South Haven – 0.7 mile south from Highway 55 on Fairhaven Avenue/Pittman Avenue N.W.


Hennepin / Ramsey / Washington Counties (p. 166-176)

 

Minnesota River Valley / North Side


To reach the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge headquarters and visitors center (site Aa1), turn east off 34th Avenue East on American Boulevard (formerly named 80th Street); the new address is 3815 American Boulevard E., Bloomington 55425, phone (952) 854 5900, website http://www.fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley.


Farther west in Bloomington (see inset A), to reach the pedestrian bridge over the Minnesota River near the west end of Auto Club Road, turn west off Auto Club at Bloomington Ferry Road / Crest Avenue to the parking area.


In Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, and Chaska (see inset A), Highway 212 has been rerouted, affecting the directions given to areas involving Flying Cloud Drive / Chaska Boulevard (old Highway 212), Riverview Road, and Highway 101; search Eden Prairie, MN on Google Maps (https://maps.google.com) to navigate in this area.


Minnesota River Valley / South Side


Because of increased security concerns, the Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant (site A2) is now off-limits to birders; efforts to reestablish access are ongoing.


Black Dog Road (see inset Aa) was scheduled to be permanently closed to vehicles east of Interstate 35W in July 2014.

 

The pedestrian bridge access from Black Dog Park in Burnsville to the best area in fall-winter for ducks, gulls, and other water birds at Black Dog Lake next to the power plant was recently closed (see inset Aa). However, special arrangements were made for birding access on a few occasions in December 2009 (e.g., for a Christmas Bird Count), and access arrangements may again be possible at times.

 

In this same Black Dog area, the Park and Ride access to the Scientific and Natural Area along Cliff Road is now named Cliff Fen Park. From the kiosk north of the parking lot, one of the better trails for birding crosses and leads north away from the railroad tracks.


As shown on insets B and Ba, Highway 13 goes northeast to Mendota / Mendota Heights and intersects with Highway 110 (not 101). South of here, there is no longer any trail access from Highway 13 near Lone Oak Road to Gun Club Lake.


Mississippi River Valley / North of Airport


A good site for migrant woods birds is Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul on the east side of the river across from Minnehaha Falls: from Ford Parkway, go south on South Mississippi River Boulevard to the signed park entrance at Hidden Falls Drive.


The trails and best access in Rice Creek West Regional Park in Fridley (site A3) have changed: turn east off University Avenue at either 73rd or 69th Avenue N.E. to the frontage road, go to 71st Avenue N.E. and then east to Locke Park and the trailheads along Rice Creek; see http://www.anokacounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/7339.


Mississippi River Valley / North Side


The best flooded woodland for Prothonotary Warblers at Crosby Farm Nature Area (site Ba3) in St. Paul is reached by parking on the south side of Shepard Road just west of Interstate 35E, then hiking downhill on the trail to the first path leading left to the flooded area.


Just east of inset Ba near downtown St. Paul is the undeveloped west unit of Battle Creek Regional Park, a productive woodland for migrants: south of Interstate 94, turn east off Highway 10/61 on Lower Afton Road, go 1 block to Point Douglas Road, and then north until the road ends.

 

Another good area near Hastings to check for migrant and wintering water birds is Point Douglas Park, at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers: the park is 3 miles east of Highway 61 along Highway 10, immediately before the bridge to Prescott, Wisconsin.


Mississippi River Valley / South Side


In Hastings, the access to the Rebecca Lake area (site B4) has been renamed Spring Street (formerly Lock and Dam Road). Another access to the river farther west: from Spring Lake Regional Park, return to County Road 42 on Idell Avenue, go west less than a mile to the public access sign at Hilary Path, which leads through a densely wooded area on the river.

 

There are three other pedestrian-bridge accesses to the levee along the Mississippi River near Pigs Eye Lake in South St. Paul (inset Bb). Besides the access at Verderosa Avenue (see p.173), one is 1 mile farther north on Hardman Avenue at Grand Avenue, and two are on Concord Street at Bryant Avenue (1 mile north of Grand) and at Butler Avenue (1/2 mile north of Bryant).


St. Croix River Valley


At Afton State Park (B5) in June 2014, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Tufted Titmouse, Prothonotary and Hooded warblers, and other Southeast specialties were found along the wooded trails just beyond the picnic area at the end of the main park drive. Henslow's (and Grasshopper) Sparrows continue to be found in recent years in the fields along the main park drive, and they are also present along trails off 50th Street on the north side of the park: from the main park entrance, go 2 miles north on County Road 21, then 0.5 mile east to the trailhead.


In the northeastern corner of Washington County (see inset C), Prothonotary Warblers have been present in recent summers at William O'Brien State Park (site C5): take the first left after the contact station, cross back under Highway 95, continue to the parking area at the end of the road, and look along the Riverside Trail which leads to the east along a back channel of the St. Croix River.


The Falls Creek Scientific and Natural Area a few miles to the north (also C5 on inset C) has recently been poorly signed and difficult to find. Look for the inconspicuous parking area on the east side of Highway 95, 1.2 miles north of the Highway 97 junction – it is opposite the first driveway on the west side of 95 north of Pilar Road. The trail into the area is also inconspicuous: look for the trailhead on the right just after entering the parking area. Besides Louisiana Waterthrush, Acadian Flycatcher and Cerulean Warbler are among the Southeast Region specialties which have occurred here.


Other Woodlands and Lakes


Just northeast of Wood Lake Nature Center (site Ab6) is Veterans Memorial Park in Richfield, another productive site for migrant passerines: the entrance to the main parking lot is on the west side of the park at the corner of Portland Avenue and E. 64th Street.   

 

Amended directions to Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis/Golden Valley (see inset Ab): exit Interstate 394 at Penn Avenue S., go west on the frontage road along the south side of 394 for 1/2 mile to the sign for Theodore Wirth Parkway, turn left and then right to follow the parkway north 1/2 mile to the signed Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden / Bird Sanctuary parking lot. Coming from the north, this site is immediately south of Glenwood Avenue.

 

Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan (see p. 175) is a current favorite of Twin Cities birders in spring and summer, especially for breeding birds. During the last few summers, a few Hooded Warblers and Summer Tanagers have been found (along with Red-shouldered Hawk, Wood Thrush, and other southeastern-type woods birds), plus several singing Mourning Warblers (at the southern edge of their range). To reach the most productive woods for these, start at the parking lot/trailhead at the corner of Cliff Road and Lexington Avenue (1 mile east of Pilot Knob Road), and follow the signed trails which lead generally southwest towards the parking lot/trailhead on Pilot Knob, 3/4 mile south of Cliff Road.

 

The relatively new Purgatory Creek wetlands area in Eden Prairie is often attractive to waterbirds, sometimes including shorebirds when water levels are low. From the junction of I-494 and Highway 5, go west on 5 to Prairie Center Drive (the first intersection west of 494); then south on Prairie Center to Technology Drive (the first intersection south of 5); turn right and go west about 1/2 mile to St. Andrew's Church on the north side of Technology; park here, cross over to the south side of the street, and follow the asphalt path which leads south to the west side of the wetlands. Another and easier way to access the trails here is from the Purgatory Creek Park Pavilion parking lot at the corner of Prairie Center Drive and Technology Drive.


North of St. Paul near the junction of Interstates 35E and 694 are the two halves of Lake Vadnais, where warblers (including nesting Pine Warblers) and other migrants can be seen along the road between the lakes. Turn north off Interstate 694 on Rice Street, go east on Vadnais Boulevard (the first street north of 694), and in 0.4 mile turn north on the seasonal road between the lakes (open to traffic from May until late fall).


The Arden Hills Army Training Site covers 1,500 acres of mixed habitats which include extensive and relatively undisturbed woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands: it extends along the west side of Lexington Avenue between Highway 96 / County Road G on the south and County Road I on the north (see inset B). The area is accessible only with special arrangements (possibly through the St. Paul Audubon Society), but it can be scanned from the Wildlife Observation Area on Lexington, 1 mile north of Highway 96.

 

“A Guide to Birding Ramsey County”, a 40-page bird-finding booklet published in 2006, is now out-of-print, but much of its content is still available on-line at: https://www.ramseycounty.us/sites/default/files/Parks%20and%20Recreation/Bird%20Watching%20Locations.pdf.


Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Hamel (inset A) – From downtown (off Highway 55, 3 miles west of Interstate 494), 0.7 mile west on Hamel Road, then south to the gated ponds.

 

Loretto (inset A) – 0.6 mile east from County Road 19 on Hamel Road, then north to the gated ponds; also continue 0.2 mile east on Hamel, then 0.3 mile and 0.8 north on Tomahawk Trail to other gates (access and visibility limited at all three gates).

 

Rogers (inset A) – One new set of ponds is on W. French Lake Road (see directions to French Lake on p. 176). Better sewage ponds are still located along Diamond Lake Road west of Highway 101 and just north of the Interstate 94 exit; they are best viewed from the end of Diamond Lake Road itself, not from 137th Avenue N.


Anoka County (p. 176-178)


Cedar Creek Natural History Area (inset D), now referred to as an Ecosystem Science Reserve, reportedly has more Red-headed Woodpeckers than anywhere in the state. However, access away from county roads is now mostly limited to the Fish Lake Nature Trail, which goes north from 229th Avenue N.E., just west of County Road 15.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

Bethel – 1.7 miles west from Highway 65 on County Road 24 to unmarked 2-track road along west side of railroad tracks, then 0.3 mile south.

 

St. Francis – Along east-west section of Highway 47 on south side of town behind the public works building.


Chisago County (p. 178-180)

 

The sod farms east of Harris and North Branch are now less extensive than before. The best roads to view most of them, starting from North Branch, are: 410th Street (2 miles north on County Road 30, then 1-3 miles east); 400th Street (1 mile north on 30, then 1-4 miles east); and Jeffrey Avenue (3 miles east on Highway 95, then 1-2 miles north).

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Chisago City – 2.1 miles north from Highway 8 on Lofton Avenue / County Road 24 to the compost site sign, then 0.5 mile east.


Rush City – Because of a new prison across the road from the ponds, birding here would attract attention from security guards and is not recommended.

 

Shafer – 0.5 mile west on hiking/biking trail from County Road 21 opposite 303rd Street.

 

Stacy – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.

 

Taylors Falls – 1.5 miles west from Highway 95 on First Street, then 0.2 mile north.

Wyoming – These ponds have been drained and no longer exist.


Isanti County (p. 180)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Dalbo – 0.1 mile west on Highway 47, then 0.1 mile north on unmarked two-track road.


Isanti – The ponds are accessed from Isanti Parkway (formerly named 293rd Avenue N.E.).


Sherburne County (p. 181-182)


Common Gallinules have often been reported in recent years at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (inset B): look especially at Big Bluestem Pool near mile marker 2.5 along the Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Becker – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.

 

Princeton – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.

 

Zimmerman – 0.2 mile south from County Road 4 on Second Street E. to Main Street, then jog left and continue south past Park and Ride lot and composting site to the gated ponds (limited access and visibility).


Benton County (p. 182-183)

 

The best side roads along the Mississippi to explore for birds associated with pastures, junipers, and planted conifers are in the vicinity of Rice. County Road 2, which extends from the river east to Highway 25 and passes through Rice, has scattered stands of conifers where nesting Pine Warblers and wintering crossbills have been found. Also check for possible Bohemian Waxwings in the junipers in the county park about 1.5 miles south of Rice along County Road 55 (turn south from town on 55 along the west side of the railroad tracks).

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Gilman – 0.4 mile southwest from Highway 25 on County Road 3, then north to the ponds.

 

Rice – 0.7 mile west from Highway 10 on County Road 2, then 0.5 mile south.


Stearns County (p. 183-186)

 

To reach the trail access to the Beaver Islands in St. Cloud (site A1), take 10th Street S. / University Drive S. west of the river to 5th Avenue S., then 3 blocks south to 13th Street S. / Herb Brooks Way, and east to the parking lot and trailhead by the dam on 1st Avenue S.


At St. John's University (inset B), the pine plantation along the former entrance road is more easily accessed from the community of Collegeville via the pedestrian bridge which goes south across Interstate 94. Additionally, there are other conifer stands worth checking in the immediate vicinity of Collegeville.


As with other Minnesota locations, St. John's Uhiversity is not as reliable for Cerulean Warblers, but Ceruleans and Acadian Flycatcher were found recently at nearby Kraemer Lake-Wildwood County Park: from St. John's (see inset B), go south to County Road 51, then turn east and look for the park sign 0.8 mile east of the Island Lake road. The heavily wooded trails also lead south to marshes on the west side of Kraemer Lake where Least Bittern has occurred.

 

Also on inset B, Millstream Park is an excellent wooded area for migrants on the west side of St. Joseph: it is signed on the north side of the highway just east of County Road 3.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Avon – 1 mile north from Interstate 94 on County Road 9 to County Road 155, 1 block east to Angelfish Avenue, then 1 mile north.

 

Belgrade – 3 blocks south from downtown on Washburn Street to School Street, 1 mile east to Farmcrest Road, then 0.8 mile south and 0.5 mile west.

 

Greenwald – 0.8 mile north on Highway 4.

Kimball – 0.4 mile east from Highway 55 on County Road 44, 0.2 mile south on 83rd Avenue, then 0.2 mile east.


New Munich – Turn west to the ponds off Main Street on the south side of town, 1 block south of County Road 30 / 2nd Avenue.


Paynesville – Highway 23 has been rerouted, so that the sewage ponds are now along the north side of 23, 2 miles east of Highway 55.


Todd County (p. 186-187)

 

In the town of Osakis, the best place to scan Lake Osakis (inset A), is from the public access north of downtown: turn north from Highway 127 on Central Avenue. Clark's Grebes have been spotted here several times.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Bertha – 0.5 mile north on Central Avenue / County Road 23, 0.3 mile east on 445th Street to unmarked road and continue 0.5 mile farther east to the ponds.  

 

Clarissa – 1 mile southeast on Highway 71, 0.1 mile west on 340th Street to Lace Wing Drive, then south to the ponds.


Eagle Bend – 0.9 mile east from Highway 71 on Main Street / County Road 22, then continue 0.4 mile east on County Road 78.

 

Hewitt – 2 blocks west from Main Street on Highway 210, then 0.5 mile north on Pickle Street.

Long Prairie – 1.3 miles north from Highway 27 on Highway 71, then 0.7 - 1 mile west and south to two sets of ponds.


Morrison County (p. 187-189)


Just south of MacDougall Homestead on the east side of the Mississippi River is Sportsmen's Park on County Road 26; the deciduous woods here have attracted species like Red-shouldered Hawk, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and even Cerulean Warbler.

 

Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and Wildlife Management Area (inset A) are still under development, with their habitats and birding potential no different than other areas in the vicinity and no longer specifically recommended.


As mentioned on p. 188, Yellow Rails and Nelson's Sparrows had been found a few years ago by researchers at undisclosed sites in the county; one of these may have been along Highway 27, 1/2 mile east of the Todd County line, where Yellow Rails were heard in 2005.

 

It may still be possible to arrange birding access to Camp Ripley: the contact for information has been Amanda Panek at (320) 616-2714. Since training activity is highest in the summer, May is reportedly the best month for access (although some attempts in recent years to arrange this have been unsuccessful).


West of Camp Ripley along County Road 5 north of Cushing is The Nature Conservancy's Lake Alexander Preserve, over 1,700 acres of extensive but mostly inaccessible deciduous forest; see http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/minnesota/placesweprotect/lake-alexander-preserve.xml for more information.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Flensburg – 0.5 mile east on County Road 1.


Little Rock – The former sewage ponds are no longer in use and have been drained.


Motley – 4 blocks east from Highway 10 on Main Street E.

 

Pierz – 1 mile south from Highway 27 on Highway 25 to County Road 38, then 2 miles east to 280th Avenue and 1.2 miles south.

 

Sobieski – 1.7 miles east on County Road 12 to 110th Avenue, then 0.5 mile south and 0.2 west.


Mille Lacs County (p. 189-190)

 

Some updates to access points on Mille Lacs Lake (see inset A):


     • To reach Mazomannie Point from Bayview, follow 92nd Avenue north to Waseca Street and turn west; it can also be

       reached by following the road along the shore west from Izaty's Resort.

     • In Wahkon, the lake is best scanned from Wahkon City Park on the north side of town.

     • There are no longer good views of the lake from Malone Island.

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:

 

Foreston – 2 blocks south from downtown on Washington Avenue, 4 blocks east on South Street, 1 block south on Clearfield Street, then zig-zag 1 mile east-south-east on School Street.

 

Onamia – 1 mile south on Highway 169 to Quail Road/County Road 22, then 0.5 mile east to curve and continue 0.3 mile east.

Pease – 0.4 mile north from Main Street on the unmarked road immediately east of Central Avenue.

 

Wahkon – 1.4 miles south on County Road 17 to the curve, then continue south on the gravel road to the ponds.


Kanabec County (p. 191)

 

Additional sewage ponds or amended directions:


Grasston – 0.7 mile west on Pine Street / County Road 17, then 0.4 mile north on County Road 5.








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