Join us for the first of two great trips exploring the birds of Alabama’s Black Belt region. Participants on these trips regularly report Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites, Wood Storks, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, as well as numerous other southern summer specialties—birds that make it well worth the road trip south of Birmingham!
This might be especially true for folks who have never witnessed the spectacle of Alabama’s kite species feasting on the wing—surely one of the wildest aerial shows on earth! Both kites are regular summer visitors to the upper coastal plain’s Tombigbee and Alabama river systems, where they take to the skies with acrobatic maneuvers designed to catch insects in flight. We think everyone should have a chance to see it for themselves!
Meet up is at the McDonald’s on US 31 in Hoover, located at 1731 Montgomery Highway (US 31) across from the Galleria. Plan to depart at 7:00 a.m. and caravan to our destination from there. Those wishing to meet us in Prattville should do so at the McDonald’s off Exit #179 on I-65, no later than 8:15 a.m.
In the morning, we’ll focus on areas east of Autaugaville that have yielded sporadic sightings of Painted Buntings and Lark Sparrows in years past. After lunch at Chef Lee’s Autaugaville AL, and a much-needed break from the mid-summer heat, we’ll then drive to the south side of the Alabama River to look for kites. The picturesque “ghost town” at Robinson’s Switch Road will be worth a short visit as well, so bring your cameras!
If the necessary arrangements can be made, we’ll end the day with a visit to an alligator farm/heron rookery in Pine Level, south of Montgomery off US Hwy 231. We normally have dinner at Red’s Little School House in Grady around 5:30 p.m., then depart for the rookery from there. If you participate in this optional side trip, expect a very long day in the field, as we usually don’t leave the rookery until sunset, and the return trip to Birmingham is around a two-hour drive!
At any rate, be sure to plan for a long day out, with plenty of drinks and snacks as well as a full tank of gas, insect repellent, rain gear, and appropriate summer attire and sunblock.
Greg Harber (home: 205-251-2133; cell: 205-807-8055) leads both of these trips, and has also been known to arrange additional adventures on short notice! Be sure to monitor the Birmingham Audubon website (birminghamaudubon.org), this Facebook page, or the BAS-Birding Yahoo Group for the most up-to-date plans.