Western Minnesota Prairie Waters

Regional Tourism

Birding

 

Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area near Marietta is a haven for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. This makes for fascinating and unique birdwatching.

 

Some bird species that have been seen in the area include: loggerhead shrike, ruddy turnstone, bobolink, Swainson's hawk, western grebe, and cinnamon teal. On an irregular basis, the site harbors breeding populations of eared grebes, Wilson's phalaropes and American avocets.

The Minnesota Ornithologists' Union takes a field trip to Salt Lake the fourth weekend in April. Typically, birdwatchers see more than 130 species on these outings. Snowy egrets, although rare in Minnesota, have become expected there.

 

To reach Salt Lake, head to Marietta on Hwy. 40. Go 3 miles south of Marietta on Co. Rd.7. Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area is 1 mile west on the township road. Park on the southeast end of the lake.

 

** The 2013 Salt Lake Birding Weekend is on April 27th and 28th. There will be a breakfast and lunch served on Saturday by the Marietta Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of Norway serve dinner on Saturday night in Madison.

 

Don't miss out on this weekend! For more info, call the Madison Chamber Office at 320-598-7301 or Prairie Waters at 866-866-5432, or click here to visit the Salt Lake Weekend website.

You can also download a PDF info sheet right here.

 

See you at Salt Lake!

 

Marsh Lake, a man-made reservoir on the Minnesota River west of Appleton has one of the only two nesting colonies of white pelican in Minnesota.

Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area is a stopover for fall migrating Canada geese. Flocks of up to 100,000 can be seen during peak migration in late October. For more information call the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce at 320.598.7301.

More birdwatching information can be obtained by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Morris Wetland Management District Office located south and east of Morris on Co. Rd. 10. The office and display area are open to the public Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The 10,000 acre Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge features car and bike tour routes and foot trails. Hiking the granite outcroppings provides ventures into plant, stone, and wildlife study. Plants as rare as ball cactus can be readily found in this area.

 

Located just south of Ortonville on Highways 7 & 75, the refuge offers a hard-surfaced 9.3 mile auto tour route. Groomed hiking trails begin at the edge of the parking lot. A public canoe access is also available and wildlife is abundant.

 

The 11,500 acre Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge lies within the heart of the historic tallgrass prairie. A drive along Minnesota’s Scenic Highway 7 provides a glimpse of wildflowers like yellow coneflower and leadplant, and grasses such as big bluestem and prairie dropseed. These plant species are components of the Refuge’s 1,700 acres of remnant tallgrass prairie.


The Refuge features car and bike tour routes and foot trails. During the summer months visitors have the opportunity to view bison grazing on restored prairie within the auto tour route. Hiking the granite outcroppings along the Minnesota River provides ventures into plant, stone, and wildlife study. The only population of ball cactus in Minnesota can be readily found in this area.

 

Big Stone Refuge boasts over 260 bird species that utilize the Refuge’s grassland and wetland habitats. The Refuge serves as a major migratory stopover for more than 20 species of waterfowl and 30 species of shorebirds. The highest concentrations of some shorebird species in the state of Minnesota and in the prairie potholes can be found on the Refuge. Bald Eagles have successfully raised 2-3 eaglets every year on the Refuge since 1995.

 

Located just south of Ortonville on Highways 7 & 75, the refuge offers a hard-surfaced 9.3 mile auto tour route. Hiking trails begin at the edge of the parking lot complete with public restrooms. A public canoe access is also available and wildlife observation opportunities abound.

 

For more info on birding in the Prairie Waters region, check out these helpful links:

 

The best resource for birding in the area is the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union website.

 

Another helpful site is the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

 

The State Parks in the area have birding checklists listed by park:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/birdchecklists.html

The State Parks in our region are Lac qui Parle,
Monson Lake, and Upper Sioux Agency.

 

You can also contact the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Refuge office at 320-734-4451.

Have birding info or photos to share? Post them on our Facebook page!

 

 

Web Weaver: VoyageurWeb