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Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Holyoke - Phillips County
Aliases: Lions Club Fishing Hole
Ownership: None Listed
Description: The town of Holyoke is not only the county seat of Phillips County, and the largest town, it is also a decent birding town. The main claim to fame here is the small population of Mississippi Kites, best looked for in the town park on the west side of US 385 in the south part of town, but possible anywhere. Aforementioned town park may also be worth a look for migrants, though a lack of undergrowth limits it potential. There are many large trees in town (especially around the courthouse a few blocks north of the park), as well as some weedy lots, and any of these could attract an interesting migrant or winter resident.

Just east of town is the Lions Club Fishing Hole. This two-acre lake is one of the largest permanent bodies of water in the county. Look for breeding Orchard Oriole and for migrants in the small tangles on the east and south sides. Lark Sparrow and swallows are common in the area in summer. The small lake is popular with people but probably also gets ducks in migration.

Just south and west of the fishing hole are the Holyoke Sewage Ponds, which can only be scanned by standing on top of your car. The ponds have been criscrossed with thin wire in 4-foot square sections to discourage waterfowl from landing on the ponds, but resident Canada Geese can still be found here, and Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper breed. Also be sure to check out the wet area with cattails where CR 41 crosses a creek just north of the ponds. While this area looks to small for rails to breed, they may stop over during migration, and sparrows or a Marsh Wren could make use of the spot.

Half a mile south of the sewage ponds on the same road is the Holyoke Cemetery, which may attract migrant landbirds from time to time.

US-385 north of Holyoke, and CRs 38 and 29 pass through some good grasslands with most of the associated species, as well as Burrowing Owl. There are a couple of small roadside woodlots along CR 29 and 38 that seem to be the most reliable spot in the county for Black-billed Magpie (the author has yet to miss them there), but rarely have much else.

Habitat: Park/Cemetery, Pond, Urban/Suburban, Lowland Riparian
Directions: Holyoke is at the intersection of US-6 and US-385, 50 miles east of Sterling, 32 miles south of Julesburg, and 37 miles north of Wray. To reach the sewage ponds, go east of town on US-6 to CR 41 (one mile east of the town center), and turn right (south). The ponds are on the left in less than half a mile. To get to the cemetery, continue south on CR 41. To get to the Fishing Hole, continue east a short distance on US 6 past CR 41. To get to the grassland areas mentioned north of town, take US 385 eight miles north of Holyoke. Travel west along CR 38 to reach CR 29, in 4.5 miles. Traveling north on CR 29 will bring you to I-76.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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CBRC Records from Holyoke

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2014-179 08/30/2014
Anna's Hummingbird2018-027 09/04/2018
Piping Plover2013-295 05/15/2013
Barred Owleggs3/ /1897
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher2015-063 05/23/2015
Alder Flycatcher2015-14924 May 2015
Purple Finch2012-188 09/30/2012
Eastern Towhee2012-134 9/30/2012
Eastern Meadowlark2012-128 9/30/2012