Birding Lake Pepin
Known as the “warbler capital” of Minnesota, Lake Pepin is the place to be (and bird) in early May, and actually any time of the year. Designated as an important Birding Area (IBA) by Audubon, it is described as the “best bird habitat in the State of Minnesota, especially for migrant birds.” According to Audubon, “Frontenac State Park regularly records between 20 and 30 species of migrant warblers and the total number of species recorded there is 263, the second highest for a Minnesota State Park.” Audubon also lists Hok-Si-La Park as an important migratory stopover for songbirds in both Spring and Fall.
To prepare for Warbler Weekend, you should check out these resources available on line. Just Google “Birding Lake Pepin” and a whole wealth of information becomes available.
Lake City publishes a really awesome birding brochure available at www.lakecitymn.org/what-to-do/birdwatching/. It provides maps to a whole slew of good birding spots in the area. You can also fill out a form and one will be mailed to you! Heckuva deal!
Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources provides specific information on Frontenac State Park including a down-loadable bird list. Go to www.dnr.mn.us to access information about all of Minnesota State Parks.
Robert B. Janssen, author of Birds of Minnesota State Parks, wrote a nice article for Minnesota Conservation Volunteer titled “The Warbler Capital: Bird surveys of all state parks proved what birders have seen for decades: This place is tops for warblers.” It is available on-line at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/issues/2015/may-jun/frontenac-state-park-birding.html. It is good reading and whets your appetite for Warbler Weekend.
The evening program on Friday night with Bill Stjern will focus on visual warbler identification for new birders or those new to Warbler Weekend along with interesting facts and background for more experienced folks. Included will be an overview of migration and the challenges in the future for these remarkable creatures. It should send everyone out on Saturday with an appreciation for and an eager desire to find and learn more about warblers. In 47 years of Warbler Weekend, we have seen 250 species of birds and all of the regular warbler species ever seen in the state. This is the best place in the state, and arguably in the Upper Midwest to learn about and see these beautiful birds.