Big Stone / Lac Qui Parle and Vicinity

Odessa, Minnesota

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The headwater of the Minnesota River, Big Stone Lake stretches 26 miles from Brown’s Valley to Ortonville, never more than 1.5 miles wide. Once the lower outlet of Glacial Lake Agassiz, the river today is cut off from that watershed (Red River valley), meandering alone through the massive, former valley of the Glacial River Warren, 355 miles to its junction with the Mississippi. The names of this area’s central landmarks provide a legacy of the past and references to the present. Big Stone was named “Inyan tankinyanyan” (“very great stone”) by the Sioux, for the prominent granite outcroppings of this part of the river valley (over 100 acres of exposed granite on the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge alone). Finally, the village of Odessa was named for the city in southern Russia that supplied the original seed for wheat grown in this vicinity. Key birds: Western and Eared Grebes, American White Pelican, Doublecrested Cormorant, Bald Eagle (fall), Upland Sandpiper, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, Orchard Oriole, Grasshopper and Clay-colored Sparrows. Don’t miss: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour, Louisburg Road across upper Marsh Lake, Salt Lake.
Birding Minnesota

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Birding Minnesota

by Jay Michael Strangis (Falcon Guides)

The headwater of the Minnesota River, Big Stone Lake stretches 26 miles from Brown’s Valley to Ortonville, never more than 1.5 miles wide. Once the lower outlet of Glacial Lake Agassiz, the river today is cut off from that watershed (Red River valley), meandering alone through the massive, former valley of the Glacial River Warren, 355 miles to its junction with the Mississippi. The names of this area’s central landmarks provide a legacy of the past and references to the present. Big Stone was named “Inyan tankinyanyan” (“very great stone”) by the Sioux, for the prominent granite outcroppings of this part of the river valley (over 100 acres of exposed granite on the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge alone).

Finally, the village of Odessa was named for the city in southern Russia that supplied the original seed for wheat grown in this vicinity. Key birds: Western and Eared Grebes, American White Pelican, Doublecrested Cormorant, Bald Eagle (fall), Upland Sandpiper, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, Orchard Oriole, Grasshopper and Clay-colored Sparrows. Don’t miss: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour, Louisburg Road across upper Marsh Lake, Salt Lake.

©  Jay Michael Strangis/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Odessa
Trail Type: Several options
Duration: 2 days
Best Times: Best March-June; September-early-November
Local Contacts: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge; Lac Qui Parle State Park
Local Maps: Minnesota Highway Map
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Stone / Lac Qui Parle and Vicinity

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Apr 2018