BY JERRY UHLMAN
Mingo NWR and Lake
Wappapello State Park
Mingo is a 21,500-acre refuge
with bottomland hardwoods,
marshes, grassland remnants, and
managed cropland for waterfowl.
The refuge bird list is nearly 250
species, with more than a dozen
warbler species being a sure bet at
the right times of year.
Upon entering the refuge, be
sure to stop by the park office and
pick up a large colored map that
will help you navigate the various
tracks and pathways.
Follow the signage to the
entrance for Bluff Road and Red
Mill Drive. Turn west (left) onto
Bluff Road and almost immediately you’ll see a parking lot for
Swampwalk Nature Trail, your
first of many stops.
On a sunny spring morning,
the magic starts here as you step
out of your vehicle and are abso-
lutely flooded with bird songs.
You’ll be confronted by warblers
calling at the trailhead: Listen
for both northern and Louisi-
ana waterthrushes, ovenbirds,
and wood thrushes. And, in the
background, you’ll soon become
aware of tanagers and vireos high
in the trees.
Swampwalk Nature Trail is
roughly a half-mile in length, of
which most is along a boardwalk
over marshy and flooded bottomland, meandering around pines,
cypress, beech, and other hardwood trees. Part of the trail passes
thick brush and vines, where
you’ll no doubt see and hear
yellow-breasted chats, yellow-throated and warbling vireos, and
even house wrens.
About a third of the way in,
you’ll reach a straight, paved
stretch where the habitat changes. The path follows a canal