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Originally published Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 7:01 PM

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Birders' Top Spots

Spring songbirds and drumming grouse add music to Mima Mounds

Mima Mounds, Site 53 from "Southwest Loop" of Audubon Washington's Great Washington State Birding Trail.

Mima Mounds, Site 53 from "Southwest Loop" of Audubon Washington's Great Washington State Birding Trail.

Location: Littlerock, Thurston County.

Habitat: Washington Department of Natural Resources Natural Area Preserve with 624 acres of rare mounded grassland prairie bordered by coniferous forests.

Best seasons for birding: Fall through spring.

Birds commonly seen: Listen for spring songs of western meadowlarks, western bluebirds, and Vesper and Savannah sparrows wafting over the prairie while ruffed grouse drum. Summer nesters include western wood-pewees and western scrub jays. White-tailed kites hunt the south edge of the prairie fall-winter. Present year-round are American kestrels, northern harriers, and red-tailed hawks.

Viewing tips: Take half-mile paved ADA trail to kiosk, 2-mile loop trail, and 3.2 miles of other trails. Bonus coming soon: Profusion of mid-May camas wildflowers plus summer butterflies.

Getting there: From Interstate 5, take Exit 95 (Maytown/Littlerock). Drive north (straight ahead through intersection) to Littlerock. Road curves to left (west) onto Maytown Road Southeast/128th Avenue. Drive 3.6 miles (in town, road becomes 128th Avenue Southwest). Turn right (north) at "T" intersection onto Waddell Creek Road Southwest. Drive 0.7 mile. At Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve sign, turn left onto unmarked, one-lane road (easy to miss!). Drive 0.3-mile to trail parking lot.

Source: Audubon Washington, Great Washington State Birding Trail maps. See maps online (or order hard copies, $4.95 apiece), at wa.audubon.org.

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