North Blakeley Disposal Area can under the proper conditions, produce waterfowl and shorebirds. A spotting scope is recommended for viewing birds at a long distance. The Mud Lakes on Blakeley Island are well known to Alabama birders as one of the best spots in South Alabama for shorebirds and waterfowl.
Directions: If following directions provided in the Coastal Birding Trail booklet, continue northward on US 90A to access North Blakeley Disposal Area at the foot of the Cochrane-Africatown USA bridge, where you will note a road to the left (west) with a sign indicating “Alabama State Port Authority” [0.1]. Follow this under the bridge, carefully examining any birds that may be in the canals.
As the road veers left, take the second dirt road right, which leads east to a locked gate at the base of a dike to the left [0.6]. Climb the dike to check the area.
GPS: N30.73343 W-88.03795
NOTE: This notice only applies to the Blakeley Island Mud Lakes Disposal Areas. The Mud Lakes are former industrial waste treatment sites and the waters in these dredge material management ponds can be extremely caustic. The ponds are currently used for the disposal of dredge materials by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Alabama State Port Authority. Do not leave the road or the tops of the dikes for any reason! Entry to the upper ponds is by permit only and requires the annual submission of a liability waiver form to the Alabama State Port Authority and notification of a visit beforehand. Weekdays, call 251-441-7085, and on weekends call 251-441-7777 to notify the Port Authority of your intention to visit.
All birders visiting Blakeley Island are REQUIRED to post a permit on the dash of their car. You must notify the Alabama State Port Authority prior to walking the dikes.
You may download the required forms from the Alabama Ornithological Society (AOS) web site at www.aosbirds.org/blakeley.php. The forms may also be obtained at the welcome centers in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach or at Fort Conde in Mobile. The forms may be mailed to the Alabama State Port Authority (the address is on the forms) or faxed to: 251-441-9395. The AOS web page also has a map indicating which ponds are currently open to visitors. Insect repellent is in order. Be advised: any of these trips are potentially long, hard, hot walks, so prepare accordingly.