MINNESOTA DRIFTLESS FIELD TRIP

Grassland Birds Field Trip

Saturday, June 15 – Time TBD

Location: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers West Newton Chute Beneficial Use Site, Kellogg, MN

Mark your calendars for a June 15th grassland bird field trip at a very unique site. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers West Newton Chute Beneficial Use Site was created as a permanent placement site for sand and other material dredged from the navigation channel in Pool 5 of the Mississippi River. Placement of dredge material began in the early 2000’s and the approximately 150-acre site was planted with local ecotype seed of sand prairie species harvested from the nearby Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area. Additional species obtained from commercial sources were added to the seed mix. Additional information about the site can be found on page 52 of this document.

Because this sand prairie site is so large, and relatively free of trees and shrubs, it provides valuable habitat for grassland birds. Last year during a late July visit, not the best time to see breeding grassland birds, we saw dickcissels and grasshopper sparrows. A June 15th visit this year should should yield grasshopper sparrows, meadowlarks, and perhaps dickcissels again (dickcissels tend to be here some years and absent other years).

During the field trip we’ll learn more about this large and unique prairie reconstruction site and we’ll also learn about grassland bird ecology and conservation. And there will be plenty of prairie plants and insects to enjoy and talk about as well.

Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to June 15th!

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