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Site Description and Habitats
The Brainerd levee and retention area were built in the 1970's to prevent flood waters from South Chickamauga Creek from damaging the neighborhoods in Brainerd. This storm water control structure has created a freshwater marsh and seasonal mudflats. Habitats include a cattail marsh, seasonal mudflats, wet fields, wet woods, shallow ponds, fields with shrub and shrubby edges, and riparian woods. Access is via a paved trail atop the 2.6 miles long levee. Late afternoon viewing is best as the sun drops below the horizon.
Bird species of interest
Spring and Fall Migration: Warblers can be common in the wooded areas, including Wilson's, Cape May, Blackpoll (spring only) and Black-and-white, plus Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart. Willow and Alder Flycatchers are possible, plus Lincoln's and Vesper Sparrow. Shorebirds are the main attraction with a wide variety of species recorded here including Baird's, White-rumped, Stilt, Western, Least, and Semipalmated Sandpipers, American Golden Plover and Semipalmated Plover, and both yellowlegs. Virginia Rail and Sora are possible, but rare.
Winter: Sandhill Crane (possible flyover in late fall through winter), waterfowl including Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, both scaup, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, and Northern Pintail, plus species like Rusty Blackbird, Hermit Thrush and Winter Wren.
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Detailed directions for birding Brainerd Levee
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