Sioux Prairie WMA

Lyon County

Sioux Prairie Wildlife Management Area is another reminder of what life was like long ago. You may first want to scan the Gislason Lake area in Lincoln County for water birds, herons, and egrets, or listen for rails and wrens. Tundra Swans use this lake during migration while mergansers congregate in the spring when the lake is starting to open up.

DIRECTIONS: From Highway 19 at the Lincoln-Lyon County Line

Two sections of the Sioux Prairie Wildlife Management Area are accessible. The first is 0.25 miles East of the Lincoln-Lyon County line, and is accessible from Minnesota Highway 19. To access the back portion of this unit, the best directions to take are to turn South on the Lincoln-Lyon County line for 1 mile, then either park at or take the minimum maintenance road (260th Street) East into Lyon County for 1/2 mile. WMA land is on both the North and South sides of 260th Street.

The Sioux Prairie Wildlife Management Area consists of mostly grassland with one small open wetland North of 260th street, and several smaller wetlands in the northern part, with a major creek, rolling grassland hills with occasional scrub-brush complexes, and large deciduous woodland on the East side of the south unit. Upland Sandpiper, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Willow Flycatcher nest here along with Mallard and Wood Duck, and possibly Northern Harrier or Swainson's Hawk.

In migration this would be a suitable location to look for Eastern Meadowlark, Cattle Egret, Alder Flycatcher, or a stray Lark Bunting along with the more expected American Pipit, Brewer's and Rusty Blackbird, LeConte's or Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. And don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for that wandering Ferugginous Hawk. The wetlands will most likely not hold much in migration, but are easily scanned for ducks or possibly Eared Grebe.

The woodland is an easy walk following the maintenance trail through the prairie grasses and flowers, (which blossom in summer) and might be worth the effort in spring or fall with a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk, Canada, or Wilson's Warbler, or Gray-cheeked or Swainson's Thrush. The woodlands and scrub provide good cover in winter for Ring-necked Pheasant and Gray Partridge, though the site is not very accessible after significant snow events.

Written by Roger Schroeder

Sioux Prairie WMA Map