Prothonotary Warbler

St Paul Audubon’s 2020 Warbler Weekend

Fri, May 8 , 2020 - Sun, May 10 , 2020
6:00 pm - 11:30 am

Hok-Si-La Park
2500 U.S. Hwy 61,
Lake City, MN 55041

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St Paul Audubon’s 2020 Warbler Weekend

<Click for Reservations>

St. Paul Audubon Society’s 49th annual Warbler Weekend will be held May 8-9 (Mother’s Day Weekend) at Hok-Si-La Park in Lake City, MN. This will be our fourth year at Hok-Si-La Park in Lake City.  Hok-Si-La will be the hub for everything: gathering, socializing, eating, recording, dispersing and more.

Check out to learn more about this location which has for many years welcomed SPAS birders.

The registration fee for Warbler Weekend is $10 per person. Great and reasonably priced meals are available on Saturday thanks to Lake City Kiwanis International. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available. Numerous motel/hotel options are in the Lake City/Redwing area. Camping is available at Frontenac State Park and at Hok-Si-La Park.

All levels of birders are welcome!

Some Saturday leader-led walks might focus on a particular habitat, basic birding skills, bird songs, walking distance, or a favorite place such as the several trails at Hok-Si-La Park, Sand Point, the town cemetery, Villa Maria grounds (if open), Old Frontenac, and Frontenac State Park. For the first time this year, we will have a “Birding by Car” trip on Saturday afternoon. All of these sites offer wonderful opportunities for birders as the migrants travel the Mississippi Flyway toward northern breeding grounds as they have done for thousands of years. We and the birds will be rewarded with all the hospitality this area has to offer us. And, happily, SPAS can continue to document Spring bird migration along this particular stretch of bluff lands and lowlands of the Wells Creek area of the Mississippi River. Note that this year the number of registrants is limited to 150, so be sure to send in your registration form by April 25.

Weekend Details


Birders staying overnight need to make their own reservations soon. Lake City and Red Wing are closest. Cell phone numbers for information or help before and during the Weekend are 651-270-9345 (Richard) or 651-955-2086 (Jo Ann).

Advanced reservations:

Required for all meals including requests for gluten-free and/or vegetarian food.
Registration and meal reservations close April 25.

Information Boards:

The usual Bird Board, Schedule, and Notices will be posted in prominent places.

Evaluation Forms:

We want your input! All birders will be asked to fill out an evaluation form so that we can continue to improve Warbler Weekend!

Friday, May 8

Daytime: bird on your own
6:30 p.m. Dining Hall opens for coffee, cookies and socializing
7:00 p.m. Information about the weekend activities and schedules
7:30 p.m. The Amazing Frontenac Area Migration—Carole Brysky

Owling will follow if weather permits

Saturday, May 9

Meals: prepared and served by Lake City Kiwanis in Riverside Dining Hall.
8:00 – 8:30 AM  Full, hot breakfast
12:00 – 12:30 PM  Sandwiches with fruit and dessert
6:00 – 6:30 PM  Spaghetti, bread and salad supper

Special sightings, identification of Saturday leaders, and places to bird will be on a handout available Friday evening and Saturday with changes announced during meals.  The Warbler Weekend Count will be tallied after the Saturday supper.

Saturday Birding Walks:

Morning: 6:30 AM – 8:00 AM and
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Afternoon: 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM and
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Gather on the grass at the parking lot around appropriate signs to form groups for each scheduled leader-led walk. NOTE that the start-ing times are departure times, so please give yourself enough time to find your group for an on-time departure. The places we will visit from the list below will depend on weather, trail conditions, and the number of available leaders.

  • Frontenac State Park trips:
  • Prairie walk, campground, Sand Point Trail and Overlook
  • Hok-Si-La north and south
  • Old Methodist Camp area
  • Frontenac Town Cemetery and Town walk
  • Beginning birder walk
  • Birding by car (JoAnn Schultz)

Sunday, May 10

6:30 AM at Hok-Si-La parking lot to bird with leaders.

Please report any additions from the Saturday birding to Bill Stjern ( for inclusion in the Final Count.

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. Our tally for the weekend is usually 135-145 species.

To prepare for Warbler Weekend, you should check out these resources available online. Just Google “birding Lake Pepin” and a whole wealth of information becomes available.

Lake City publishes a really awesome birding brochure available at 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.

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources provides specific information on Frontenac State Park including a downloadable bird list. Go to 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 online at It is good reading and whets your appetite for Warbler Weekend.

It is our pleasure to announce that Carole Brysky will be the speaker on Friday evening, kicking off SPAS’s Warbler Weekend 2020 with a presentation on the Amazing Frontenac Area Migration. Carole has been a member and friend to SPAS in many ways for many years.

Carole Brysky’s Story

A career St. Paul librarian, for years she reserved space for SPAS Board meetings at the Rice Street Library. There she pitched the out-of-doors, especially birds, to patrons old and young. Carole is a keen birder; her specialty is the identification by song.

After retirement, she and her husband Clemens moved to Carole’s home town: Grand Junction, Colorado.

“They bought a travel trailer and set off with their cats to host at state park campgrounds around the country. Carole led bird walks, and they both cleaned campsites, sold firewood and answered questions. Eventually, they narrowed their hosting duties to one park in May, a migratory bird funnel on the Mississippi bluffs, recognized as the top spring birding spot in Minnesota.” (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel) Yes, Frontenac State Park!

This is your invitation to attend Carole Brysky’s talk Friday evening in the Lakeside building in Hok-Si-La Park, the hub of Warbler Weekend 2020. Doors open at 6:30, the meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. with general information about the weekend. Carole’s presentation will start at 7:30 pm.