OK, so it's also a paradise for trout fishermen (& women), campers, hikers, and all types of nature lovers, but as a birder, I believe this is as close to Nirvana as I will get without going to West Virginia!
The majority of my birding was done within 200 yds of the main picnic & parking area, but I knew I was in a great spot when I got out of my car at the park office and immediately heard a wood thrush singing in the woods to my right and a warbling vireo in the woods across the road!
Dewy spider web transforms an old rusty picnic table leg into something beautiful
While I was sitting at one of the picnic tables trying to identify even one bird song that I recognized from the chorus around me, I happened to notice this green heron strolling along a log on nearby Beaver Creek.
An Eastern Phoebe built her nest under the eaves of the shelter covering the trail map and announcement boards. Every time someone would come over to check the map, the poor little phoebe flew off her nest. I hope those babies hatch OK!
You would take this trail wouldn't you? I also heard a wood thrush singing in these woods, but I never got a glimpse of the bird.
The trails were pretty rustic--here's what the Hole-In-The Rock Trail looked like after a few hundred feet. Can you see it? I couldn't either and decided it was time to turn around and head back.
Before leaving I decided to walk down one more little trail that paralleled Beaver Creek, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Louisiana waterthrush. This trail was a little easier to follow, but had several wet spots necessitating the addition of boardwalks. With my history of clumsiness, I approached these somewhat slippery board walks with more than a little dread (fortunately, no wet feet this time though!)
Looks like Mr. Robin has found something delicious!
My birding trip to Beaver Creek Valley State Park was brief (only 2 hours), but in this short time I was able to positively identify 30 birds (by sight and/or sound).
Wild Turkey = Green Heron
Red-Tailed Hawk = Mourning Dove
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird = Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Eastern Wood Pewee = Eastern Phoebe
Yellow-Throated Vireo = Warbling Vireo
Red-Eyed Vireo = American Crow
House Wren = Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush = American Robin
Gray Catbird = Cedar Waxwing
Great Crested Flycatcher = Yellow Warbler
Magnolia Warbler = American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat = Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow = Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Red-Winged Blackbird = Brown-Headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole = Turkey Vulture
I didn't see the Cerulean Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, or Louisiana Waterthrush. All three of these birds nest in this park and would all be lifers for me. It's nice to know I have at least 3 more reasons for visiting this park again!
If any of you are planning a visit to southeastern Minnesota, be sure to allow some time for visiting Beaver Creek Valley State Park.
I leave you with this little video featuring the song of a Wood Thrush.