Around 11:30 a.m. this morning I observed a single Ross's Goose and a single
white phase Snow Goose on the west end of Foot Lake located on the northwest
side of Willmar, MN in Kandiyohi County, MN. Randy Frederickson had alerted
me via email yesterday that there were large numbers of waterfowl on Foot
Lake and suggested perhaps an extended closer look might find a sea duck
among them. No such luck but there were 14 species of waterfowl present
including 75+ Cackling Geese. Many of the Geese returned from feeding and
landed on the lake between 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Based on that
observation I would suggest looking for the geese around midday after they
have returned from their morning feeding.
Foot Lake borders Willmar, MN on the northwest side and has become a magnate
for waterfowl in the fall and early winter (depending on the date of freeze
up) because the entire lake is within the city limits and as such off limits
for hunting. The harvested corn fields adjacent to the lake and in the
immediate area also provide an easily available source of food for the geese
Directions: There are several great sports to view the lake in Willmar
1. On the southeast side from the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds which
border a good portion of the lake:
. Coming in from the east on US Hwy 12 follow US Hwy 12/Litchfield
Avenue SE going under Business 23/71 into Willmar to the intersection of US
Hwy 12/Litchfield Avenue SW and 7th Street/Co Rd 41.
. Turn north on 7th Street NW/Co Rd 41 and follow it north including
a one block jog west until you see the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds on your
left and foot lake in front of you.
. View the lake from the public access just before you enter the
Fairgrounds off of 7th Street NW/Co Rd 41
. Drive into the fairgrounds and take the gravel road to the right
(on the north side of the buildings)that parallels the lake.
. Stop wherever there is an opening in the trees to scan the lake
. Follow the road to the west end where there is another public
access providing a view of the lake to the west
. The road curves south to the some of the livestock buildings where
another view of the lake is available
2. On the south side from the corner of Ella Avenue and 17th Street
. From the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds directions above retrace
your steps south on 7th Street NW/Co Rd 41 until you reach the 1 block jog
. At the stop sign before you would turn east for the 1 block jog
. Turn right/west on Ella Avenue NW and follow it all the way west
until it curves to the south and becomes 17th Street SW
. At that corner Foot Lake will be on the north/right side
3. On the west side from Fairview Cemetery off of Gorton Avenue SW
. Continue south on 17th Street SW to the intersection with Gorton
. Turn west/right on Gorton Avenue and follow it along Foot Lake
until it curves slightly to the right and crosses a small bridge
. Just after crossing the bridge take a right/north turn into the
east side of Fairview Cemetery
. On Wednesday I could best see both of the white geese from this
side of the lake.
. The cemetery road follows the lake shore for some distance before
it turns west.
. Follow the cemetery road west and take the first right turn which
will bring you back to the lake and provide some additional spots to view
the western part of the lake which is surrounded by cattails.
Good luck and let me know if you find any Scoters. In 38 years living of
living in Willmar/Kandiyohi County only one scoter has been seen and that
was a single White-winged on Diamond Lake north of Atwater, MN on November
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