Monson Lake State Park may be much smaller than Sibley State Park and not nearly as well known, but with its lake and extensive brushy woodlands it is still a great area for birds, especially early spring waterfowl migrants. [Monson Lake State Park’s bird List and park map is available.] A total of 116 species of birds were recorded in the park during a recent autumn bird inventory.
The southern part of Pope County has rolling hills, lakes, marshes and woodlands, providing a variety of habitats for both migrating and resident birds. Lake Johanna with its large heron rookery lies within this area. The woodlands surrounding the lake are good for migrating warblers. Ordway Prairie’s magnificent landscape includes rolling grasslands and wooded hills and valleys, providing habitats suitable for many bird species. Make sure you stop at the observation area along Highway 104. It not only provides a wonderful panoramic view of the entire area, it is a great place to observe raptors during migration.
Monson Lake State Park peak camping season (with water on) is generally the end of May to mid-September each year. The 20 campsites (6 Electric/14 non-electic) is 100% reservable and can be made up to one year in advance. Make a reservation by calling 1-866-857-2757 or by visiting mndnr/reservations. This destination is a favorite among those who like quiet, out of the way spots for hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. Sibley State Park staff have occasional Interpretive Programs in the summer months; please check the Events Calendar for more details.
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