Wildlife Update: October 16, 2023

Fall Visitor Center Hours

Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Weekends 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Now that we are halfway through October, the Grantsburg area is certainly experiencing fall weather! Many days are cool in the morning and have had highs in the 50s and low 60s. We have also had several days of MUCH needed rain, after our second summer in drought conditions. Flowages that have been dry are now starting to have a bit of standing water in them.

Fall migration is still in full swing, with many species on our list this week! Sandhill Crane numbers are building rapidly, waterfowl coming from the north have started to arrive, and even some of our winter residents have been reported within the past week.

Sandhill Crane viewing season is well underway, but numbers of cranes will continue to build throughout October, with our peak numbers typically being present the last week of the month.

Trumpeter Swans are also plentiful on the properties this time of year, with numbers close to 100 in some areas!

Some good places to view cranes in the morning and evening hours are Refuge Extension Flowage on Crex Meadows (in the south end of the refuge area), and Grettum Flowage on Fish Lake Wildlife Area (also in the south and of that refuge).

Upper North Fork Flowage and Phantom Lake have also been a great viewing locations during the daytime. A variety of species have been seen in these locations, including sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, mallards, wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, double-crested cormorants, great egrets and more!

Species highlights from this week include: American Pipit, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Harris’s Sparrow, Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, Orange-crowned Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Snow Bunting.

PLEASE NOTE: There are several hunting seasons open at this time. Please stay aware while out on the properties in the coming months (especially while hiking).

Mammals seen in the area within the last week:

BeaverMuskratRiver Otter
Grey SquirrelRed FoxWhite-tailed Deer
Grey WolfRed Squirrel

Bird sightings within the last week on Crex Meadows, Fish Lake, Amsterdam Sloughs, and surrounding area:

American CootGreat Blue HeronRed-bellied Woodpecker
American CrowGreat EgretRed-breasted Nuthatch
American KestrelGreat Horned OwlRed-tailed Hawk
American PipitGreater YellowlegsRed-winged Blackbird
American RobinHairy WoodpeckerRing-billed Gull
American Tree SparrowHarris’s SparrowRing-necked Duck
American WoodcockHermit ThrushRing-necked Pheasant
Bald EagleHorned LarkRock Pigeon
Barred OwlHooded MerganserRuby-crowned Kinglet
Belted KingfisherLapland LongspurRuffed Grouse
Black-capped ChickadeeLong-billed DowitcherSandhill Crane
Blue JayMallardSnow Bunting
Blue-winged TealMourning DoveSong Sparrow
Canada GooseNorthern CardinalSwamp Sparrow
Common GrackleNorthern FlickerTrumpeter Swan
Dark-eyed JuncoNorthern HarrierTurkey Vulture
Double-crested CormorantNorthern PintailWhite-breasted Nuthatch
Downy WoodpeckerOrange-crowned WarblerWhite-crowned Sparrow
Field SparrowPectoral SandpiperWhite-throated Sparrow
Fox SparrowPied-billed GrebeWild Turkey
Golden-crowned KingletPileated WoodpeckerWood Duck
Yellow-rumped Warbler