Trip Schedule, Fall 2021

  1. Leighton Area Shorebird Trip, Wheeler Dam (NABT #2, 4, 5) – 28 August, 2021 (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. – Ken and Rufina Ward, Leaders (256-679-8332; kenphin1990@gmail.com)

2. Indian Creek Greenway, Creekwood Park – 11 September, 2021 (SATURDAY) 7:00 am

Indian Creek Greenway has been an interesting late spring migration spot for NABS the last few years. Our fall trip canalso be productive, yielding a variety of songbird migrants, not to mention being a pretty place to bird and take pics. We’ll access the greenway via Creekwood Park in SW Madison (360 Harvestwood Ct., Madison, AL 35758). From University Dr., take Slaughter Road south, turn left at Harvestwood (there will be a sign before the turn) and follow signs through the subdivision to the parking lot. This is a walking trip, likely around 2 miles round trip; getting back to your car is easy, if you need to leave early. – Ken Ward, Leader (256-679-8332, kenphin1990@gmail.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) – 18 September, 2021 (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. From Huntsville, take I-565 W/Hwy 20 toward Decatur. Just before the river, take the Hwy 31 exit north, then turn right at the first traffic light past the Subway. – Milton Harris, Leader (256-679-7501; miltonh70@gmail.com)

4. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Fall Migration Count (NABT) –25 September, 2021 (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. Cameras are also welcome, especially for documenting rarities, but the birding will be pretty intense, in order to cover areas sufficiently. Since we don’t have a single gathering spot or time for folks to meet and join a group, new participants should contact Dwight Cooley by September 15 to get assigned to a party. We’ll meet around 6 pm at the Refuge Visitor’s Center for compilation; everyone is welcome. – Dwight Cooley, Leader/Compiler (256-565-6239; sabrewing@earthlink.net)

5. Monte Sano State Park (NABT #29) – 2 October, 2021 (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 (please note that day-use fees may be collected at the park entrance: $5 per person, discounts for children, military, etc). 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: Alabama Ornithological Society Fall Meeting, Dauphin Island – 8-10 October, 2021 (Harry Dean, 256-541-0842; hdean@hiwaay.net)

6. Wheeler NWR – Limestone Bay/Arrowhead Landing/White Springs Dike (NABT #20, 23, 24) – 6 November, 2021 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

We’ll start from Mooresville and travel a short distance to Arrowhead Landing Road, as usual, and bird our way down by car, stopping at several places to look out over the bay, including the boat ramp area. We’ll then go behind a refuge gate into the White Springs Dike area, birding along the dike to the gate on the southern end, near Decatur. We’ll see somewaterfowl (still a bit early for them), perhaps some Sandhill Cranes, hopefully a good number of White Pelicans, potentially several raptor species and a variety of songbirds, many of them are returning winter residents. To get to the meeting place, 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). – Tom Ress, Leader (256-233-3057; resscat@aol.

7. Wheeler NWR – Visitor Center and Garth Slough (NABT #16) – 13 November, 2021 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

We’ll first spend some time around the Visitor’s Center. 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 arealready 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. Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area (NABT #21) – 20 November, 2021 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

This trip will give us a chance to visit one of the most productive segments of the Wheeler NWR Christmas Count circle. There is active duck hunting at Swan Creek this time of year, which will drive away most of the waterfowl. However, the area has lots of other birds. One area of interest is the set of fields on the north edge of the management area (behind the old warehouse). This spot usually has a number of sparrows, often including White-Crowned. Unless it rains heavily, we can expect to have some exposed mud flats where we could pick up some shorebirds and Lapland Longspurs. Inthe past couple of years, LeConte’s sparrow had been found near the boat ramp within the management area compound. Other species we might encounter include Marsh Wren, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Palm Warbler and Common Yellowthroat, all uncommon to rare species this time of year in our area. We will meet at the southernmost parking lot of Calhoun Community College. From Huntsville, take I-565 W/Hwy 20 toward Decatur. Just before the river, take the Hwy 31 exit north, then turn right at the first traffic light past the Subway.- Milton Harris, Leader (256-679-7501;miltonh70@gmail.com)

9. Wheeler NWR – Penny Bottoms/Blackwell Swamp/Rockhouse/Buckeye (NABT #26) – 4 December, 2021 (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). – Dwight Cooley, Leader (256-565-6239; sabrewing@earthlink.net)

10. Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Peninsula Tower/Limestone Bay/Arrowhead Landing/White Springs Dike (NABT #20, 23, 24) – 11 December, 2021 (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 be present in numbers, especially the Tennessee River backwaters and marsh near the Decatur end of the dike. 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. 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) – Dwight Cooley, Leader (256-565-6239; sabrewing@earthlink.net)

Winter Schedule

Spring Schedule