Wildflower Way (0.6 km)
This short trail travels along the edge of Milligan Creek Marsh and then back through the prairie grassland. Native wildflowers grown from seed in the wildflower garden have been used to revegetate the trail area with native prairie wildflowers. Watch for tree swallows in the birdhouses, western meadowlark, sedge wrens, marsh hawks, and nesting waterfowl in the grassland areas.
Island Overlook (0.5 km)
A short continuation from wildflower way will take you beside a wet meadow and continue to the edge of Milligan Creek Marsh. Watch for shorebirds, chorus frogs, and marbled godwits in the wet meadow, and eared grebes and waterfowl at the marsh.
Blackbird Alley (1.0 km)
A short walk north from the viewing tower will lead you along a boardwalk through tall stands of cattails. The trail ends at the Coot’s cove overlook. Along the trail listen and watch for red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds, sora rails, coots, american bitterns, black crowned night herons, and chorus frogs. Nesting structures have been placed out for nesting mallard ducks. At the overlook you can see dabbling and diving ducks, as well as tundra swans during migration.
Cattail Trail (0.6 km)
Continuing along from Coot’s Cove, the boardwalk winds through the marsh, bringing you to the Jesmer Marsh overlook. The marsh along the trail is thick with cattails and whitetop grasses. Many marsh birds nest here. Watch for Canada Geese, Canvasback ducks, Mallard ducks, Blue winged teal, muskrat, and mink. Feeding shorebirds frequents open water areas. Wallin’s walkway will take you over the “spillway” which carries spring run off to Jesmer Marsh when water levels are high.
Feeding Station Trail (0.3 km)
Every fall, thousands of bushels of grain are placed on the shore of the marsh to feed the ducks. Barley is placed out everyday for the over 20,000 ducks that feed here. By feeding the ducks, crop damage on the surrounding farmland is greatly reduced. Along the shore you will also see the Governor General’s nesting basket. This basket was installed by the Governor General himself back in 1989 when this wetland project was dedicated.
Plover’s Path (1.6 km)
This trail travels along the dike between Milligan and Jesmer Marshes and Little Quill Lake. Water levels are managed by Ducks Unlimited through the operation of control structures. Watch for waterfowl, grebes, nesting Franklin gulls, bitterns, herons, and coots. Shorebirds frequent the shallow open water on Jesmer Marsh and along the lakeshore. Watch for american avocet, willet, marbled godwit, and wilson’s phalarope. You might even see the endangered piping plover, which nests on the gravelly shores of Little Quill Lake.
Mallard Trail (3.2 km)
Winding through native and restored prairie grasslands this 2-mile long trail passes through a managed waterfowl nesting area. Both an upland and a wetland trail, this path follows along the northern shore of the Jesmer marsh. Wildflowers give vibrant colour to the fescue grassland with the occasional overlook of wetland birds on the marsh. Watch for grassland nesting birds such as marsh hawks, short-eared owl, western meadowlark, sharptailed grouse, mallard, blue winged teal, shovelor, and gadwall ducks.