Our unique location on the famous Mississippi River Flyway, designated as a globally important migratory corridor, provides exceptional year-round bird watching, including the migrations of bald eagles, trumpeter swans and warblers.
Whether you consider yourself an ornithologist, a twitcher, a casual birder, or you just love nature’s magnificent show, Lake City does not disappoint.
View the informative Audubon Lake Pepin annual bird observation chart to learn more about which birds visit the area and when you’re more likely to spot them!
Lake City’s Lake Pepin Vistas:
Park on side streets and cross to the water’s edge. Any duck species can be seen from here. Find huge rafts of Commer Mergansers in November (and in December in a warm winter). Check for shorebirds on the sand April through November (in cold weather, there may be a Purple Sandpiper!) Bald Eagles can be found in any season from any vista.
Head toward Ohuta Park and follow the one-way signs past the mobile homes to a parking area. Find great vistas in late fall when C. Mergansers are in the thousands and Bald Eagles are fishing. Scoping carefully, even in the distance, you might see a rare Pacific, Red-throated or very rare Yellow-billed Loon, besides migrant Common Loons April-June and in September until freeze-up.
Especially in November, December and May check the two in-town marinas and the jetty for Black, White-winged and Surf Scoters. Someday, Eiders will be found here, too.
From Roschen Park boat landing, see terns (Common, Caspian, Foresters and Black are regular) during spring migration and in fall, jaegers may be harassing gulls. Check for Glaucous, Iceland, Thayers and less common Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes among the Herring and Ring-billed roosting on the lake at night. Many species are waiting to be discovered along this shore. Long-tailed Ducks, any loons, scoters and rafts of C. Mergansers can be found here in spring or fall. From Roschen Park, take two left turns and follow Oak Street, staying close to the river. Past a creek and across from a railroad trestle on your right, scope Lake Pepin for shorebirds in May and scoters (especially Black) and gulls in November. A good Bald Eagle spot along the creek. Check the water at open vistas behind the small brick building further down Oak Street and
at the dead end at the Sportsman’s Club for Greater Scaup flocks and other ducks and gulls.
Hok-si-la Municipal Park:
Hok-Si-La is a migrant trap of mixed woods that juts out into Lake Pepin where warblers drip from trees in a good mid-May migration, including Cerulean and Connecticut.
Check the entrance road’s bottomland woods, wetland areas and parking lot woods for Barred Owls, ducks, Pileated Woodpeckers and migrants. A walk through the grass opening to the right of the parking lot eventually weaves throughout the campground with an overlook above a “birdy” creek. Continue upriver through oaks and circle to the lot through tall pines where there are more warblers, records of Cooper’s Hawks and Long-eared Owls. Walk an old road down to the water for shorebirds, gulls and tern rarities. Heading upriver on Hwy 61, scope the boat landing and rest stop for loons, Greater Scaup, gulls and Canvasbacks. Try mid-late November for huge C. Merganser flocks and swooping/feeding Bald Eagles.