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White Lake Refuge
Site Description and Habitats
The area contains 938 acres of farmland, shrub swamp, cypress swamp, bottomland hardwood forest, open water, moist soil management areas, and impoundments. Part of the area is under a water level management program. In summer, much of the area is dry and farmed for winter waterfowl use. Upon entering the WMA, there is a small parking lot on the right about 100m from the Great River Rd. This parking lot is a trailhead for a 1/2 mile trail to a boardwalk through cypress bottoms and some mudflats, depending on water levels. Additional public roads provide access to different parks of the refuge, farm fields, and early successional habitat including grasslands.
Bird species of interest
Spring and Fall Migration: American Redstart, Eastern Kingbird, various flycatchers, and Northern Parula. Shorebirds can be abundant, including yellowlegs, Least and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, among others. Wading birds including Great Egret, Snowy Egret and Little Blue Herons are common.
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Other wildlife viewing opportunities
Detailed directions for birding White Lake Refuge
The main part of the refuge is gated during high water and in winter. Another area of White Lake to explore, especially if the gate is closed, is to head back south on the Great River Rd to Boothspoint Rd and head east. There are warm season grass fields on the refuge that are great for Common Yellowthroat, Field Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak and Dickcissel in summer and for winter sparrows and Northern Harrier in winter. Loggerhead Shrike can occur anywhere. Drive down Boothspoint Rd and explore all the fields and flooded areas. The road eventually dead ends, but there are good fields to check out and an oxbow lake. At an intersection with another gravel road (Yarbro Rd), turn right and drive under I-155 to more farm fields and additional public land managed for waterfowl and early successional habitat. This area is part of Thorny Cypress WMA and Yarbro Rd dead ends at Hwy 104.
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