You don’t have to be a “birder” to enjoy the annual spring migration. For some folks, it’s just not important to know the name each bird they see or to crawl around, camouflage in the underbrush to see a little brown bird about the size of a Snickers bar. That’s O.K. Many people, me included, get excited by the return of the birds for much less obsessive reasons. For some it’s just the love of nature or wildlife in general. For others the return of the birds simply means, spring has arrived and another cold winter is coming to an end. Good reasons! The important thing is that whatever your interest, passive or obsessive, now is a great time to explore the many wetland areas here in the Baraboo Hills. There is a lot to see. But be warned, once you start, it’s easy to slip into the darkside…
The best location for large, easy to see AND easy to access waterfowl (cranes, geese, ducks…) right now is definitely on Mirror Lake in a section called “Pickerel Slough”. Mirror Lake State Park is located north of Baraboo, closer to Wisconsin Dells just west of highway 12. The easy access points for casual observers are two small boat landings on the west and north sides of the slough. This area is reached from highway 23. (Use the map below to get oriented.) For more serious birdwatchers there are a couple other access points and a lot of fairly dry, well covered areas where you can sneak in quietly and unobserved.
Just yesterday morning we were able to find sandhill cranes, tundra swans, green-winged teal, canada geese, mallards, common mergansers, hooded mergansers, goldeneyes and a bald eagle! You can see more pictures on our Facebook page, click here.
This week at Devil’s Lake State Park, the great blue heron have arrived along with red-winged blackbirds, killdeer and sandhill cranes. Folks are reporting that robins have returned to the area as well. Now as of this morning, the lake was still ice-covered, so most of the birds are hanging out in surrounding wetlands and prairies. Our favorite haunt until the lake opens up, are the wetland areas in the Merrimac Preserve. The Merrimac Preserve is located at the South-East corner of Devil’s Lake State Park.
Good Luck! If you see anything cool be sure to let us know!!