The South Blakely Disposal Area is a complex of diked ponds managed by the Alabama State Port Authority. Shorebirds and waterfowl are abundant throughout the year. Bear to the left as you walk on the dirt road leading northeast to the ponds. At the top of the dike, scan the area ( you must stay on the perimeter dikes) for migrant shorebirds and visiting ducks. Best areas usually are in the northwest and southwest corners of the pond. This is a regular site for Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, where they now breed.
DIRECTIONS: If following directions provided in the Coastal Birding Trail booklet, from the traffic light at the Bankhead Tunnel, continue north on US 90A to access the South Blakeley Disposal Area [1.4]. Park well off the road near the locked gate across from the “Bender Yard 9” sign, and leave the permit sheet visible on the front dash of your car.
GPS: N30.71260 W-88.03362
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.
You may download the required forms from the Alabama Ornithological Society (AOS) web site at https://www.aosbirds.org/alabama-birding/blakeley-island/. 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 the following trips are potentially long, hard, hot walks, so prepare accordingly.
Blakeley visitation is regulated through the Alabama State Port Authority and any vehicles not displaying the proper permits will BE TOWED!! Please be sure to comply with the permit requirement so that access to this premier birding site will not be lost.