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CANCELLED: Guntersville City/Dam North/Hawk Farm (NABT #37)
January 11, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 2:30 pm
Guntersville City/Dam North/Hawk Farm (NABT #37) – 11 January, 2020 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am
From trip leader Ken Ward:
We are CANCELLING the Guntersville trip on the 11th. The weather is shaping up to be bad, possibly severe, midday and beyond (we would be out after lunch for the dam/hawk farm). Beyond this, we literally have nobody to lead the trip. This is an old trip, one that 4-5 of us could lead, but a couple are out of town, one is sick, one is helping out with the cranefest and the other has just had surgery (me…I’m fine but too sore to be out and about by Saturday).
Sorry it didn’t work out this time, especially for this trip, as we have limited opportunities to visit the hawk farm, our next chance being next year this time. There is another opportunity to visit each year, during the Guntersville CBC, held on Dec 26. Rufina and I are party leaders for the dam/hawk farm area and often are the only ones covering that area; we’d love to have some of you join us in the future, if you can manage to make some time the day after Christmas. I should mention too, though, that although the hawk farm is a good spot to visit and can turn up some great birds, it’s become a lot less likely in recent years, due to the owners shifting from cattle to row crop farming. We will have another couple of Guntersville trips, one in early Feb, that will cover the waterfront again and south side of the dam (not the hawk farm) and a spring trip in May we are excited about, that will cover the waterfront, south side of the dam, state park and several other spots during migration peak.
Hopefully things will work out better for this outing, although I should mention that Joe Wheeler SP got some heavy damage from the tornadoes that came through a few weeks back. It may not be a stop this time, but we are still assessing that right now.
Our next trip, on Jan. 18, will be to Town Creek and Wheeler dam areas. One stop, Joe Wheeler SP, is questionable, due to the tornado damage a few weeks back…will get back to you on that. Hopefully Rufina and I be able to join you . Please check events for directions to the meeting place and other information.
Y’all take care and keep on top of the weather,
Ken and Rufina
The Guntersville area provides some of our best winter birding, as we explore a variety of habitats along Guntersville Lake, the Tennessee River and nearby areas. We’ll convene at the Guntersville Chamber of Commerce parking lot, on the south end of the Hwy 431 bridge, birding first along the lakefront and some other spots of interest; we should see a large number and variety of waterfowl, water birds, raptors and songbirds. We’ll break for lunch around 11-11:30, then reconvene about 12:30 at Guntersville Dam, north side, off Hwy 431 (10-15 miles back in the direction of Huntsville, to your left; watch for the sign). Meet at the picnic pavilion parking lot near the dam, to the left, as you face the dam. After birding near the dam, we’ll visit the nearby Jones ‘hawk farm’. The dam area and farm are both good for raptors. There should be Bald Eagles around, both types of vultures, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Kestrels and Harriers. If we are lucky, we may pick up one or two unusual species that have been seen irregularly over the years, e.g., Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Rough-legged Hawk, or Golden Eagle. Another treat may be Wild Turkey, which we encounter fairly regularly on the farm. WE’LL ALL NEED TO BE TOGETHER TO VISIT THE FARM AND ARE NOT ALLOWED BEYOND THE STABLE AREA AT THE TOP OF THE HILL. (34.363686 -86.291161). – Ken Ward, Leader (256-679-8332; firstname.lastname@example.org)