The Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trails opened on Father's Day weekend but shortly thereafter suffered damage from the June 23 flooding.

The one-mile loop was able to re-open in short time but the longer two-mile loop just re-opened after a couple bridges that had washed out were repaired.

The trailhead is located just behind (south of) Red's IGA in Spring Grove.

The trails wind through a variety of habitats including open grassland and young to mature forest. They skirt ponds and cross brooks.

Mowed and marked, the paths feature numerous signs identifying bird species, plants, trees and more in Norwegian and English. There are 54 birds included on signs placed strategically along the route, in habitat where those species can be expected to pop up.

Hiking the route is easy since slopes are modest and footbridges are provided over draws and gullies.

A casual observer might spot bobolinks, indigo buntings, gray catbirds, ruby-throated hummingbirds, Cooper's hawks and more!

There are QR codes on the bird signs so individuals can use their smartphone and hear the birdcalls.

The current list of birds along the trail includes eastern Phoebe (Grafibi in Norwegian), eastern screech owl (Lundugle) and belted kingfisher (Belte isfugl). That roster will undoubtedly grow over time.

Photo contest announced

The volunteers of the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail have teamed up with UffDa Fest and the Bluff Country Artists Gallery to host a "Best of Nature" photo contest.

The contest is open to those in kindergarten through adult, and allows for both amateur and professional photographers. Winning photos will be honored at the gallery with a reception on Saturday, Oct. 5, (UffDa Fest) from 3 to 5 p.m.

All exhibits will be on display from Oct. 5 to 30. Learn more online at http://sgbirdwalk.org/UffDa_fest_photo_contest.pdf.