Camden State Park

Lyon County

You could easily spend a whole day birding Camden - especially during spring and fall songbird migration. Hiking one of the many park trails along the river and up through the deciduous woodland to the upper grassland tracts can produce as many as 15-20 species of warblers, plus orioles, tanagers, buntings. Camden State Park offers rich riparian woodland, and restored prairie with a few potholes to give you an idea of what life must have been like 200 years ago.

DIRECTIONS: Located along Highway 23 about 10 miles southwest of the city of Marshall.

Spotted Towhee has been seen in the park almost annually during spring, as has the more vagrant Summer Tanager. The even more vagrant White-eyed Vireo has been seen here (May 2001) and Lazuli Bunting has been reported on two occasions at a feeder just outside the park boundaries. (1997, 1999) Blue-gray Gnatcatchers nest in the South Picnic, and Connecticut, Blue-winged, and Bay-breasted Warblers have turned up in Spring amidst the more common Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, and Magnolia Warblers.

Yellow-throated Vireo are common nesters here, as are Great-crested Flycatcher and Black-billed Cuckoo. Yellow-billed Cuckoo may also nest here when the tent caterpillar population is in a boom year. The grassland areas of the western side of the park are home to nesting Upland Sandpiper, Grasshoper Sparrow, Turkey Vuluture, and Northern Harrier; always accompanied by the more common nesting Western Meadowlark, Eastern Kingbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Sedge Wren. Along the river one can find all five species of swallow nesting on the bank, under the bridges, and adjacent to the park. In the fall this riparian area is refuge to migrating Broad-winged, Red-tailed, Sharp-shinned, and Coopers Hawks, Peregrine Falcon, and Bald Eagle and Osprey.

In Fall of 2001 a Townsend's Solitaire was observed in the Brawner Lake area, and Short-eared Owls have often been seen along the prairie tracts. Winter brings a more quiet time to the park with the majority of activity confined to the permanent residents; woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, and Blue Jay.

During slightly mild winters the park is home to wintering Northern Goshawk, and may attract a Barred Owl; rare this far south of the Minnesota River. Early Spring at Brawner Lake is not as productive as nearby lakes, however this seems to be a better location than most to closely observe the mergansers, and Wood Duck. One final area to check is the Horse Camp. When busy with equestrian gatherings, the area along the river can be very productive.

Click Here for the Bird Checklist at Camden State Park.
Click Here for Camden State Park Maps

Written by Roger Schroeder

Camden State Park Map