Birding

Indigo Bunting

Monroe County is home to many birds.  The Big Creek State Fishery Area in Cataract is home to a large variety of birds, including the yellow-bellied flycatchers, brown thrashers, gray catbirds, eastern blue birds and savannah sparrows.  Forested areas are home to yellow-bellied sapsuckers, whippoorwills, and the Nashville and black and white warblers.

 

 

Avian life is equally diverse at the Fort McCoy Barrens State Natural Area. Rare species include the red-headed woodpecker, Vesper and Henslow's sparrows, bobolink and western meadowlark.

Grosbeak

 

Sandhill Cranes

Other birds found in Monroe County include the pileated woodpecker, Acadian flycatcher, blue-gray gnatcatcher, sandhill cranes, ruffed grouse, barred owl, bank and cliff swallows, whooping cranes, American egret, yellow billed cuckoo and Karner Blue Butterfly.

 

 

 

La Crosse River Trail Prairie State Natural Area

La Crosse River Trail Prairie State Natural Area

This property is located along the La Crosse River State trail east and west of Rockland. It features two stretches of dry to dry-mesic sand prairie in a former railroad right-of-way that total 56 acres. These long, linear remnants lie on a sandy terrace of the La Crosse River and are indicative of the once vast prairie and savanna complex that covered this part of the state. Prairie meadows are in bloom from early spring to the last hard frost of October, attracting numerous species of butterflies and many species of grassland birds. This segment of the trail is drier than the La Crosse segment to the west, but you will want to walk or ride your bike and enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Directions: From the trailhead in Sparta, bike or hike west to reach this SNA in Monroe and La Crosse Counties.
Phone: 608/785-9000 (La Crosse WDNR).
Web site: WDNR La Crosse River State Trail | WDNR La Cross River Trail Prairies
Signature species: Black and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Least Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird.
Rare species: Red-headed Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher and Purple Martin.
Seasonality: Open all year.
Parking: Parking lots.
Nearest food & lodging: Sparta.
Fees: Bike trail fee.

 

 

 

La Crosse River State Fishery Area

This 457-acre property is northeast of the La Crosse River Trail Prairie State Natural area and is dominated by the La Crosse River. The landscape is ideal for Wild Turkeys, badgers, mink and red fox. Shrubby areas along the stream attract Brown Thrashers, Yellow and Common Yellowthroat Warblers while the forests harbor a variety of woodpeckers, warblers and the Hermit Thrush. Blue-winged, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers nest on this property along with Yellow-rumped Warblers. If you like to fish for trout, or just relax along the river, this property is a great place to visit. Directions: From Sparta, go 2 miles northeast on Hwy 21 to Angelo, then 2 miles north on Cty I.

Phone: 608/785-9000 (La Crosse WDNR).
Web: WDNR La Crosse River State Fishery Area
Signature species: Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Flicker, Long-billed Marsh and Sedge Wren.
Rare species: Pileated Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Seasonality: Open all year.
Parking: Parking lot.
Nearest food & lodging: Sparta.

La Crosse River State Fishery Area