Central Loop, North Alabama | Morgan | Best Seasons: Spring | Summer
The BP-Amoco Environmental Trail (Site #18, Central Loop) is situated the middle of the extensive agricultural fields that lie just west of Decatur. BP-Amoco has preserved this corner of prime woodland and marsh habitat for waterfowl and possibly rails. This area is worth stopping to check for marshland residents such as Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Yellowthroats during spring and summer months. At other times of the year, the marsh could produce a variety of waterfowl including Wood Ducks and American Coots. Some careful searching could also turn up a Virginia Rail or Sora. The neighboring woodlands host a variety of nesting songbirds, and the fields should be checked for wintering sparrows. While not open to the general public, the nearby Wetland’s Edge Learning Center is available for school groups.
Directions: In north Decatur at the intersection of US Highway 31 and AL Highway 20/Alternate US Highway 72 (this is at the south end of the Hudson Bridge just before it crosses the Tennessee River), take Highway 20/Alternate 72 west 4.7 miles to Finley Island Road. Turn right onto Finley Island Road and go 0.9 mile to the signboard and marsh overlook on the left (west) side.
GPS: N 34.6300, W 87.0525
PO Box 2215
Decatur, AL 25609
Mallard Fox Creek Wildlife Management Area
The 1,483-acre Mallard Fox Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) (Site # 1, Northwest Loop) along the southern shore of Wheeler Lake provides access to a number of habitats, including grasslands, agricultural fields, wildlife openings, and hardwood fo …
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge’s (NWR’s) showpiece Visitor Center (Site #16, Central Loop) serves as the gateway to the North Alabama Birding Trail. The Visitor Center hosts a series of interpretive exhibits that explain the refuge’s numerous resid …
Wheeler NWR – Cave Springs
The Cave Springs Cave (Site # 31, Central Loop) has been popular for thousands of years. The combination of shelter, fresh water, and abundant food has attracted humans and other wildlife to its safety. The cave’s current residents include several t …
Wheeler NWR – Dancy Bottoms Nature Trail
Dancy Bottoms (Site #33, Central Loop) is an excellent area in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge to visit during spring migration when dozens of warblers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes, orioles, and grosbeaks fill the trees. The area is also good for …