Trip Schedule, Fall 2019

  1. Leighton Area Shorebird Trip, Wheeler Dam (NABT #2, 4, 5) – 24 August, 2019 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

We will explore the Leighton area and swing by Wheeler Dam on this trip.  We’ll be looking primarily for shorebird migrants, whose movement through our area should be peaking; our success will depend largely on water levels. We should pick up some neo-tropical songbird migrants as well. We’ll meet at the Ingalls Boat Harbor Pavilion in Decatur: from the direction of Huntsville, cross the river bridge and take the first right onto Alt 72/20 (Wilson St.). Go about a mile and turn right on Neher St., follow to pavilion parking lot. – John Ehinger, Leader (256-536-2716; johnehinger@yahoo.com)

2. Monte Sano State Park (NABT #29) – 14 September, 2019 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

Monte Sano is an excellent spot for fall migration birding,  As many or more birds actually pass through our area in the fall compared to spring, but the migration period is longer and a defined peak is more difficult to pinpoint. Take Monte Sano Boulevard off Governors Drive at the top of the mountain and follow the signs to the park; once there, go in the direction of headquarters and park at the Camp Store, in the gravel, if possible.   PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BIRDING IS SOMETIMES BETTER EARLIER; FEEL FREE TO COME UP BETWEEN 6 AND 6:30 IF YOU LIKE, AS SOME OF US WILL PROBABLY ALREADY BE AT THE OVERLOOK (34.745325 -86.511672). – Ken Ward, Leader (256-679-8332, kenphin1990@gmail.com)  

3. Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area (NABT #21) – 21 September, 2019 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

This trip targets neotropical songbird migrants and shorebirds (depending on water levels), including breeding residents heading south, transients passing through from the north, mostly on their way to Central and South America, and some returning winter residents.  We will meet at the southernmost parking lot of Calhoun Community College (northeast corner of Highway 31 and Airport/Sandy Road).   Turn right at the first traffic light past the Subway, if headed north on Highway 31. – Ken Ward, Leader (256-679-8332, kenphin1990@gmail.com)

4. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Fall Migration Count (NABT) –28 September, 2019 (SATURDAY) 5:00-6:00 am (meeting time varies by count group)

The format for this count is similar to that used for Audubon Christmas Counts – identify and count all birds seen or heard from dawn to late afternoon/dusk; different groups bird different parts of the refuge and nearby areas. This count is always scheduled during the peak fall migration period. Birders of all skill levels are welcome; we need all the eyes and ears we can get and are usually short-handed on migration counts. Arrangements can also be made to spend part of the day counting for those who can’t commit to the whole day (morning or afternoon).  We’ll regroup at the Wheeler NWR Interpretive Nature (Visitor) Center (34.547406 -86.951136) around 6 pm for compilation (see Wheeler NWR Christmas Count trip # 11 for directions). Since we won’t have a single gathering spot or time for folks to meet and join a group, new participants should contact Dwight Cooley, the count leader. – Dwight Cooley, Leader (256-565-6239; sabrewing@earthlink.net)

5. Monte Sano State Park (NABT #29) – 5 October, 2019 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

We will be looking again for fall migrants, especially warblers; Monte Sano is one of the better birding spots in the state during migration.  Take Monte Sano Boulevard off Governors Drive at the top of the mountain and follow the signs to the park; once there, go in the direction of headquarters and park at the Camp Store, in the gravel, if possible. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BIRDING IS SOMETIMES BETTER EARLIER; FEEL FREE TO COME UP BETWEEN 6 AND 6:30 IF YOU LIKE, AS SOME OF US WILL PROBABLY ALREADY BE AT THE OVERLOOK (34.745325 -86.511672). – Milton Harris, Leader (256-679-7501; miltonh70@gmail.com)  

EVENT OF INTEREST: John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest – 2-5 October, 2019 (http://www.alabamacoastalbirdfest.com/; https://www.facebook.com/groups/AlabamaCoastalBirdFest/); online registration August 12, 9 am – September 20, 4 pm CST, 251-625-0814


EVENT OF INTEREST: Alabama Ornithological Society Fall Meeting, Dauphin Island – 11-13 October, 2019 (Harry Dean, 256-541-0842; hdean@hiwaay.net)

6. Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Peninsula Tower/Limestone Bay/Arrowhead Landing/White Springs Dike (NABT #20, 23, 24) – 2 November, 2019 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

This traditional NABS route is one of the best we have for productive late fall/winter birding and among the best places in the state to get great looks at a variety of waterfowl, which should just be arriving to overwinter.  Birding with a group like NABS provides an opportunity to drive behind locked gates (provided we have at least eight people!), thus gaining access to the best areas to see lots of ducks and geese.  We’ll be birding by car to cover the necessary area, but there will be plenty of stops and opportunities to walk around and enjoy the refuge.  In addition to waterfowl, we’ll be looking for Sandhill Cranes, White Pelicans, late shorebird migrants, raptors and returning winter-resident songbirds.  We’ll be behind locked gates for 2-3 hours and should be done around lunchtime, when we’ll likely head to Apple Lane Farms to eat, for those interested. Take the Mooresville exit off I-565, go south towards Mooresville and meet at the parking area near where it intersects with old Highway 20 (34.627442 -86.880186). – Harry Dean, Leader (256-541-0842; hdean@hiwaay.net)

7. Wheeler NWR – Visitor Center and Garth Slough (NABT #16) – 9 November, 2019 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

We’ll first spend some time around the Visitor’s Center, including especially the wildlife observation building. There should be a few waterfowl around, perhaps considerable numbers of Sandhill Cranes in the fields beyond the observation pond and possibly a Whooping Crane or two, if some are in the area.  We’ll then head to Garth Slough on the Refuge and bird along the Tennessee River and slough, looking for passing waterfowl, cranes, gulls and eagles, songbirds, raptors and possibly some shorebirds, depending on water levels. Overwintering sparrows should be around in numbers and we should see a good variety, including Song, Swamp, White-throated, perhaps Fox and White-crowned, and, possibly, Lincoln’s.  We’ll meet at the Wheeler NWR Interpretive Nature (Visitor) Center off Hwy 67.  From I-65, take exit 334 and head toward Decatur; after crossing the water, the road to the Visitor Center will be on the left (34.547406 -86.951136). –Dwight Cooley, Leader (256-565-6239; sabrewing@earthlink.net)

8. Wheeler NWR – Penny Bottoms/Blackwell Swamp/Rockhouse/Buckeye (NABT #26) – 17 November, 2019 (SUNDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

Attendees will get to see another interesting part of the refuge on this trip.  This area runs parallel to the Tennessee River and should yield a nice variety of songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and other species. Take the Mooresville exit off I-565, go south on Mooresville Road and meet at the parking area near where it intersects with old Highway 20 (34.627442 -86.880186). – Dick Bruer, Leader (256-714-1992; dick.bruer@gmail.com)

9. Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Peninsula Tower/Limestone Bay/Arrowhead Landing/White Springs Dike (NABT #20, 23, 24) – 23 November, 2019 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

Our second trip to the White Springs Dike area should be productive.  Waterfowl variety and numbers will likely be impressive and most or all winter-resident songbird species will be around. We’ll head first to the goose tower observation platform, then bird nearby Beaverdam Peninsula, which is excellent for waterfowl, raptors, cranes, some open-country songbirds (pipits, horned larks, possibly longspurs), etc.  Then we’ll head to Limestone Bay and White Springs Dike along our regular route, where we’ll be behind locked gates for 2-3 hours.  We should encounter lots more waterfowl here, e.g., Canada, White-Fronted, Snow, perhaps Ross’ and Cackling Goose, a variety of dabbler and diving ducks, White Pelican, etc.  There should be plenty of songbirds and raptors along the way too; Bald Eagles have been regularly sighted in this area the past several years. We should be done by lunch; Apple Lane Farms, anyone?  Take the Mooresville exit off I-565, go south on Mooresville Road and meet at the parking area near where it intersects with old Highway 20 (34.627442 -86.880186). – Ken Ward, Leader (256-679-8332; kenphin1990@gmail.com)  

 Winter Schedule

Spring Schedule