In Whitewater, WI (Bird City, USA), there’s no shortage of places to watch birds. You won’t only peep your every day warblers and finches, but eagles and owls, too! With the knowledge and insight of two local bird watching enthusiasts, we put together a list of the prime spots for observing Whitewater’s (and the surrounding area’s) winged beauties.
1.Cravath Lakefront is perfect to bird watch in the early morning where you can see egrets, Green Herons, Great Blue Herons, ducks, night hawks, and according to bird watching enthusiast, Liesl, “a kingfisher that always perches on the same post in the water.” Fun fact, according to avid bird watcher, Scott, “The lakes [Trippe and Cravath] also see migrant Tundra and Trumpeter Swans, White-fronted Geese and occasionally Snow and Ross’s Geese.”
2. Hillside Cemetery across the street from Trippe Lake Park offers glimpses of thrushes (in the spring), nuthatches in the pines, bald eagles, and your common robins and cardinals. Scott, says, “Hillside always tends to surprise me with something I didn’t expect.”
3. The walking path along Whitewater Creek is a perfect bird watching spot in the spring during songbird migration where you will see a wide variety of warblers other small songbirds. Scott shared, “It can be expected to see up to 20 or so species of warbler through peak migration (usually late-April through mid-May). The most common warbler species seen in this area are Yellow-rumped Warbler, Blackburian Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Cape May Warbler, and Yellow Warbler. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are also in high numbers during peak migration.”
4. Adam Birding Conservancy is 4mi straight north of Whitewater on Fremont Road. The conservancy “is privately owned land of over 300 acres, but the public is welcome to explore and enjoy,” shares Liesl. You do have to sign a waiver and no hunting is allowed. The property offers prairie, ponds, the Bark River, and wetlands to enjoy your bird watching. You’ll see anything from eagles, hawks, egrets, and blue herons, to a plethora of songbirds, ducks, and bluebirds. Liesl manages the bluebird boxes!
5. Dorothy Carnes Park and State Natural Area north of Fort Atkinson 13mi from Whitewater is worth the drive. It’s a peaceful park with a wide, looping trail and plenty of prairie/wetlands as well as Rose Lake that bring in all kinds of migrating waterfowl. You’ll peep pelicans, cranes, ducks and more. Liesl shared with us that osprey built a nest last summer on the high power utility poles. Be sure to look for them!
6. The 3mi Ice Age Trail Loop along Lake LaGrange (trailhead entrance just off of Hwy 12) offers woods, lake, and prairie for spotting a wide variety of bird species: bluebirds, herons, egrets, and ducks. “In the woods, I have spotted one pileated woodpecker and heard owls talking back and forth,” shares Liesl.
7. The Kettle Moraine State Forest “is one of the few old-growth forest areas remaining in southern Wisconsin and thus a harbor for bird species with old-growth forest needs. The large and menacing Pileated Woodpecker can be frequently heard and occasionally seen in the deep woods. Broad-winged Hawks tend to hunt and nest in old-growth forests, and the only time you’ll typically see one in the area outside of the Kettle Moraine is when they are migrating overhead. Songbirds such as the Scarlet Tanager, Hooded Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, and Veery are common. The Kettle Moraine can also be a great place to sit and listen for a number of owl species just after dark.” -Scott Weberpal
We know there are a plethora of bird watching spots that you might frequent that aren’t on this list, but one thing is likely certain, the location is gorgeous and the winged beauties are plentiful. Remember those binoculars, be patient, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that you spy something new!