Traveler - Winged Migration

Minnesota State Parks and Trails
The Traveler
October 2016

waterfowl landing at lac qui parle

Lac qui Parle State Park

Throughout autumn, visitors to Lac qui Parle State Park in west central Minnesota can hear a chorus of honking, quacking and other vocalizations echoing from the 5,700-acre lake of the same name. Lac qui Parle is a French translation of the name given to the lake by the Dakota who called it the "lake that speaks" The park and the nearby 33,000-acre Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are a stopover for thousands of migratory geese, whistling swans and waterfowl on the way to their southern wintering grounds.The lake provides great opportunities for catching walleye, northerns, perch and crappies while the WMA attracts thousands of hunters and trappers each year. 

The List:  Top Birding Parks

State parks encompass natural landscapes that provide much-needed refuge for birds and waterfowl.  As Lac qui Parle provides a rest stop for thousands of migrating geese and ducks, other parks such as William O'Brien, Frontenac and Blue Mounds are known hot spots for other bird species,some of which travel to and from central and south America each year.

You can pick up a copy of "Birds of Minnesota State Parks" by noted ornithologist and author, Robert Janssen, to learn more about bird watching in our state parks. The book is available for purchase at state parks around Minnesota.  You can also find a list of Important Bird Areas in Minnesota here.

geese in flight
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Download a bird check list for your favorite state park.

fall colors

Game Time - Catch Falling Leaves

Turn off the smart phones and unplug the video games, because fall is a great time to get the kids outdoors! As the leaves change color and drop from the trees, take a walk in the woods and challenge your family to catch falling leaves. It's great exercise and, according to old English folklore, you will earn one month of good luck in the coming year for each leaf you catch. Give it a try!

Get more family activity ideas.

prairie in fall

Nature Sightings - Fall Colors

As fall progresses, you can track the changing leaf colors throughout the state by clicking on the Fall Color Finder on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. State park staff update the color finder by noon each Thursday in September and October to help visitors with fall trip planning. The weekly reports note trees, flowers and grasses that are close to peak colors. All parks, including those located in the prairie regions, offer spectacular fall color viewing opportunities!

Check out the fall colors photo gallery.

candlelight event

October Events - Fall Themed Programs

This fall, many state parks will offer programs on seasonal topics; from bird migrations to fall color to fun Halloween-themed activities. Explore the outdoors during fall at one of these programs:

Women's Fall Color Walk: Saturday, October 8, 9 - 12 p.m., Brown's Creek State Trail.

Little Explorers:  Leaf Play: Saturday, October 20, 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Interstate State Park

Jack-o-Lantern Night Walk: Saturday, October 28, 6:30 - 9 p.m., Sibley State Park.

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Explore more fall programs.