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.
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.
GPS: 32.6298719 -87.6947189
Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area
1132 County Road 73
Greensboro, AL 36744