Meet at 9:00 A.M. in the parking lot of the visitor center. We will carpool from there. Please come prepared to share a ride, we will want to limit the number of cars in the caravan! The tour will last from 9:00 to approximately noon. We may go longer if circumstances require it. You may wish to bring a picnic lunch as restaurants are few in the village of Necedah. Binoculars, spotting scopes, and a camera with a long lens are good to have along. There will be very little hiking though we will be getting out of the vehicles for better views. We will have a family channel walkie-talkie in use during the tour so you may wish to bring one if you have one.
The itinerary may change depending on weather and scouting but is planned as follows: We will begin with a visit to the large area managed for Red-headed Woodpeckers. Seeing these beautiful birds is virtually guaranteed in this section of the refuge. We should be able to see them flying, visiting nests, and interacting. There should be juvenile birds at this time as well as adults.
Next stop will be at the Sprague-Mather Flowage. We will check the Goose and Sprague pool for waterfowl. Various duck species, Trumpeter Swans, Great Blue Herons and Canada Geese are frequent here. It is also possible to find Whooping Cranes in the area. It’s a fairly long drive to the flowage so we may stop along the way depending on what we see.
Our third planned stop takes us back south to the observation tower. This overlooks a wide, open area of the refuge. Wetlands and waterways are in view. From here we have frequently seen large flocks of Sandhill Cranes, Whooping Cranes, Bald Eagles, other raptors and most late summer / early autumn waterfowl. We have even – very rarely! - spotted the resident wolves.
As we travel about, we will keep a watch out for other birds. We have spotted Ruffed Grouse and other less often seen birds while traveling.
We will return to the Visitor Center after the tour. Necedah features a beautiful new Visitor Center that you may wish to visit when the tour is over.
If making a day of it, there are many other roads to explore in the refuge. There is also the Sandhill Wildlife Refuge several miles north of Necedah. It features a self-guided road tour, hiking trails, and a variety of habitats. There is a fee, on the honor system, to use the refuge. A wide variety of birds can be seen at this location and just possibly a herd of bison.
The Necedah Wildlife Refuge and environs are a true treasure of Wisconsin birding. We hope you will be able to join us in exploring it!