These trips are for the birds
Guide shows birders where to go
By Greg Seubert
It’s been nearly 20 years since the state Department of Natural Resources established the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail along with a series of bird viewing guides for five regions.
The Central Sands Prairie Region includes Waupaca, Portage, Waushara, Outagamie, Winnebago, Shawano and 11 other counties.
Each of the five regions include several waypoints, refuges and wild places that offer the best birding and wildlife-watching opportunities. Waypoints on each trail are marked with signs featuring the program’s distinctive sandhill crane logo.
Waypoints in the Central Sands Prairie Region include:
• Hartman Creek State Park and Emmons Creek Fishery Area. Signature bird species: Scarlet tanager, least flycatcher, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel. Rare bird species: Acadian flycatcher, grasshopper sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow.
• Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods State Natural Area. Signature species: Winter wren, common raven, hermit thrush, veery thrush. Rare species: Red-shouldered hawk, yellow-bellied flycatcher, merlin.
• Mukwa State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Osprey, bald eagle, Northern harrier, American kestrel. Rare species: Northern shrike, least bittern, great egret.
• Myklebust Lake State Natural Area. Signature species: Mourning warbler, pileated woodpecker, yellow-throated vireo. Rare species: Northern waterthrush, least bittern, great egret.
• Waupaca County Sturgeon Trail. Signature species: Waterfowl, songbirds.
• Buena Vista Grasslands. Signature species: Greater prairie chicken. Rare species: Cattle egret, golden eagle, snowy owl, short-eared owl, Acadian flycatcher, Henslow’s sparrow, bobolink.
• Dewey Marsh State Natural Area. Signature species: Northern harrier, ruffed grouse, grasshopper sparrow, vesper sparrow, savannah sparrow. Rare species: Sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie chicken.
• Iverson Park. Signature species: Scarlet tanager, pine warbler, Wilson’s snipe. Rare species: Great egret, trumpeter swan, Caspian tern, Forster’s tern, common tern.
• Richard A. Hemp State Fishery Area. Signature species: Blue-winged warbler, golden-winged warbler, hooded warbler, willow flycatcher, alder flycatcher, Eastern kingbird. Rare species: Golden eagle, common raven, Louisiana waterthrush.
• Schmeeckle Reserve. Signature species: Wood thrush, red-bellied woodpecker, ruffed grouse, yellow-bellied flycatcher. Rare species: Carolina wren, chipping sparrow, red-headed woodpecker.
• Greenwood State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Ruffed grouse, sandhill crane. Rare species: Bobwhite quail.
• Karner Blue Meadow State Natural Area. Rare species: Yellow-billed cuckoo.
• Mecan Springs and River State Fishery Area. Signature species: Bald eagle, red-tailed hawk. Rare species: Red-headed woodpecker, red-shouldered hawk.
• Mount Morris County Park. Signature species: Turkey vulture, Eastern phoebe, pileated woodpecker.
• Poygan State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Bald eagle, osprey. Rare species: Least bittern, American woodcock.
• Bubolz Nature Preserve. Signature species: Yellow-bellied sapsucker. Rare species: Pileated woodpecker, scarlet tanager, merlin.
• Mack State Wildlife Area & DOT Mitigation Site. Signature species: Black tern, tundra swan, yellow-headed blackbird, sora rail. Rare species: Great egret.
• Outagamie State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Ruffed grouse, blue-gray gnatcatcher, Cerulean warbler. Rare Species: Osprey, black tern.
• Wolf River Bottoms State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Sandhill crane, ruffed grouse, American woodcock. Rare species: Loggerhead shrike, prothonotary warbler.
• Oshkosh-Larsen Trail Prairies. Signature species: Song sparrow, sedge wren, American goldfinch, American tree sparrow. Rare species: Bobolink, Eastern meadowlark, short-eared owl.
• Rat River State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Green heron, yellow-headed blackbird, willow flycatcher, yellow warbler. Rare species: Orchard oriole, Louisiana waterthrush, mourning warbler.
• Rush Lake State Natural Area. Signature species: Red-necked grebe, black-crowned night heron, least bittern, American bittern. Rare species: Forster’s tern, American black duck, black tern.
• Wolf River State Wildlife Area. Signature species: Great blue heron, Canada goose, American black duck, belted kingfisher. Rare species: Least bittern, American egret, American white pelican.
• Jung Hemlock-Beech Forest State Natural Area. Signature species: Woodthrush, red-eyed vireo, Eastern wood pewee. Rare species: Red crossbill, white crossbill, blue-headed vireo.
• Mountain-Bay State Trail. Signature species: Catbird, chimney swift, Eastern bluebird. Rare species: Scarlet tanager, wood thrush, great egret.
• Navarino State Wildlife Area and Nature Center. Signature species: Northern harrier, Eastern bluebird, tundra swan, American bittern. Rare species: Loggerhead shrike, little blue heron.
• Shawano Lake County Park. Signature species: Yellow-headed blackbird, common loon. Rare species: Red-headed woodpecker.