Trip Schedule, Fall 2018


  1. Leighton Area Shorebird Trip, Wheeler Dam (NABT #2, 4, 5) – 25 August, 2018 (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;


  1. Indian Creek Greenway – 15 September, 2018 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

Indian Creek Greenway has been an interesting late spring migration spot for NABS the last few years.  Our fall trip can also be productive, yielding a nice variety of songbird migrants, not to mention being a pretty place to bird. We’ll be meeting at the greenway trailhead on Old Madison Pike, a bit east of its intersection with Slaughter Road.  The new parking lot is nice, just east of the bridge on the north side of the road (34.709083 -86.701369). – Ken Ward, Leader (256-837-5646,


  1. Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area (NABT #21) – 22 September, 2018 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

This trip targets neotropical songbird migrants and shorebirds (depending on water levels), either breeding residents heading south or transients passing through from the north, mostly on their way to Central and South America.  As many or more birds actually pass through our area in the fall than in spring, but the migration period is longer and a defined peak is hard to pinpoint. 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. – Milton Harris, Leader (256-679-7501;


  1. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Fall Migration Count (NABT) –29 September, 2018 (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. 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 # 12 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;


  1. Monte Sano State Park (NABT #29) – 6 October, 2018 (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;


EVENT OF INTEREST: 15th Annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest – 3-6 October, 2018 (;; online registration August 13, 9 am – September 21, 4 pm CST, 251-625-0814

  1. Wheeler NWR (NABT #20), “The Big Sit” – 13 October, 2018 (SATURDAY) 4:00 am until dusk

“THE BIG SIT!” is an annual, international, non-competitive birding event hosted by Bird Watcher’s Digest and founded by the New Haven (CT) Bird Club. The National Wildlife Refuge System has adopted it as an activity for National Wildlife Refuge Week. We’ll count from the Harris-Sweetwater Pump Station on White Springs Dike, where we’ll set up chairs, scopes and binoculars, and identify as many birds as we can from a 17-foot circle.  Access to the site will be through the second Refuge gate east of Day Park, NOT the one directly across from the Park. Because you can only access the gate from Alabama 20 east, anyone coming from the east or north should travel to the Decatur Boat Harbor and turn back north on U.S. 31/Alabama 20, taking Alabama 20 to the gate. The gate will be closed but unlocked. After carefully exiting from Alabama 20 (near the overpass), just open the gate, drive through, close the gate behind you, and follow the dike road for 1.4 miles to the site. Although we’ll start at 4:00 am, participants can show up and leave at any time (34.61416667 -86.93861111). – Dwight Cooley, Leader (256-565-6239;


EVENT OF INTEREST: Alabama Ornithological Society Fall Meeting, Dauphin Island – 12-14 October, 2018 (Harry Dean, 256-461-0626;


  1. Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Peninsula Tower/Limestone Bay/Arrowhead Landing/White Springs Dike (NABT #20, 23, 24) – 3 November, 2018 (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 (256-461-0626;


  1. Wheeler NWR – Visitor Center and Garth Slough (NABT #16) – 10 November, 2018 (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 considerable numbers of Sandhill Cranes in the fields beyond the observation pond and it’s also possible to see 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, Fox, perhaps 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;


  1. Wheeler NWR – Penny Bottoms/Blackwell Swamp/Rockhouse/Buckeye (NABT #26) – 18 November, 2018 (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;

 Winter Schedule

Spring Schedule