The Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area, a Forever Wild program purchase, preserves an invaluable patch of prairie grassland in the State Cattle Ranch tract. The property provides nesting habitat for such notable species as Dickcissels, Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, Grasshopper and Lark sparrows, Bobwhites, Wild Turkeys, and Barn Owls. There may be Least Bitterns nesting in the cattails on the edges of one or more of the ponds and lakes on the acreage. Eastern Meadowlarks and Eastern Bluebirds are very common, as are Red-winged Blackbirds around the ponds. From spring through fall, there are numerous Eastern Kingbirds. Rough-winged, Barn, and Cliff swallows nest here or close by. Additionally, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have nested nearby; the birds could turn up here in the future.
In the late spring and summer, a good variety of wading birds appears on the ponds – a given day could produce Great Blue, Green, and Little Blue herons; Great and Snowy egrets; White Ibises; either or both night herons; and Wood Storks. American Bitterns might be seen at the ponds’ edges during spring and fall migrations. The mature hardwoods on the south end of the ranch host a reasonable variety of songbirds.
The colder months bring waterfowl to the ponds and lakes. Savannah, Song, and Swamp sparrows are found in the wet fields and pond edges. White-throated and White-crowned sparrows are seen in the fencerows and brushy patches. Northern Harriers are common in the fields, and Short-eared Owls are a prospect at dusk and dawn.
Be sure to watch the roadsides when heading to this location. During summer, you are very likely to spot Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites soaring over the fields.
GPS: 32.6298719 -87.6947189
Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area
1132 County Road 73
Greensboro, AL 36744
From I-59/20 in Greene County, take exit 40 (Eutaw) and merge onto AL 14 E. Follow AL 14 through Eutaw (fuel, limited food, and lodging available) for a total of 15.8 miles. At Sawyerville, bear right (south) on CR 35. In 8.5 miles, turn left at the sign for the Forever Wild State Cattle Ranch tract and enter the State Cattle Ranch property.
Jennings Ferry is a pleasant island of hospitality on the banks of the Black Warrior River. Mature trees ringing the parking areas are good for songbirds from fall through spring, and there is a well-maintained nature trail loop through the southern …
One of several similar recreation areas along the Black Warrior, Lock 5 is a small park with ample parking, restrooms, a picnic area, boat ramp, and mixed-age hardwood and pine woodlands. The site is good for spring and fall migrants, breeding songbi …
Vastly similar to other such parks along the Black Warrior River, Lock 8 offers deep river, mixed woods along the banks, a picnic shed, and a boat ramp. Good for Northern Parulas and Prothonotary and Yellow-throated warblers. You will find woodland m …
Payne Lake is a productive site for woodland and riparian birds in all but the dead of summer. Open, mature trees near the lake are excellent for riparian songbirds. The pinewoods slopes along the road to the north have Bobwhites and turkeys. Look fo …