The second of two great summer trips exploring Alabama’s Black Belt takes us to a broad stretch of coastal plain between the Black Warrior and Alabama Rivers. Participants on both trips regularly report Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites, Wood Storks, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, as well as numerous other southern summer specialities—each one a bird worth traveling for!
This trip in particular focuses on the “catfish country” of Hale and Perry Counties, an extensive system of agricultural ponds that draw in wading birds and a sporadic population of post-breeding Wood Storks.
Meetup is once again 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., at which time we’ll caravan to west on I-59/20 to Exit #97, then head south on AL Hwy 5 to Centerville/Brent. We’ll make a brief rest stop there before continuing to Red Bamberg Road, and the many catfish ponds south of Greensboro.
Lunch will be at either Faunsdale Bar & Grill or Greensboro’s Pie Lab, depending on the size of our group. A late-afternoon stop at the Marion Fish Hatchery and/or Perry Lakes Park will also provide plenty of opportunities to see egrets and herons (including Little Blues) returning to their roosts, backlit by a western summer sun.
Both Black Belt trips are long and hot, so be sure to plan accordingly, 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.