Black Belt | Choctaw | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
Service Campground (a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility) is located on the banks of Coffeeville Lake, the third largest lake on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway in Alabama, providing the birder with a wide angle view of the river and all-age mixed woodlands at hand.
The park is active with birds any time other than the hot summer months, and even then, you may see long-legged waders, Ospreys, Bald Eagles and Anhingas. The half-mile long entrance road is lined with an all-age mixed forest. Look for songbirds and a variety of woodpeckers (including Pileated, Red-headed and Hairy). This is a good place to study the songs of Wood Thrushes and Hooded and Kentucky Warblers.
Beyond the entrance gate (no admission fee for day-use), the road forms a loop around the restroom building. Winter may bring a handful of gulls and some waterfowl on and around the lake. Waders may be present throughout the year, though they are most numerous in late summer and fall. Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons are year-round occupants. Look for Wood Storks from July through October and White Ibis, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, and a few Snowy Egrets at any time, though typically in the warmer months.
You will find many songbirds- Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, Summer Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, flycatchers and several species of vireos – all are common in the woods here. There are Eastern Bluebirds in the open areas all year, along with Eastern Kingbirds in the warm months and Eastern Phoebes in the cooler ones.
Coffeeville Lock and Dam is no longer open to the public, but there is access to the Tombigbee River at Service Park less than a mile away. This well maintained small park, located near the tiny community of Service in Choctaw County, provides a campground with RV hookups, a playground, clean restrooms, a boat launch, picnic tables.
This is a small park with one major road. It is not a “destination” by itself, but should be thought of as one stop on a loop, along with Bladon Springs State Park and Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge. A couple of hours should be sufficient to survey the park, one stop on a day of birding in Choctaw County.
GPS N 31.75127 W -88.144391
Coffeeville Lake (Service Campground Park)
451 Service Park Rd.
Silas AL 36919
The roadside leading to the park is great for car birding and the park itself has accessible restrooms and a good bit of paved area, allowing for some exploration of edges of the surrounding woods.
From the intersection of US-43 and US-84 in Grove Hill (Clarke County–fuel, food, some nearby lodging available) take US-84 west for 22.7 miles. Turn right (north) at the sign for Service Park. Or, from Coffeeville, Alabama, drive about four miles west on U.S. Highway 84 and follow signs to campground entrance.
Amenities Available: Picnic Tables, Restrooms, Wheelchair Accessible
Bladon Springs State Park
Bladon Springs State Park’s well maintained 357 acres are accessed by a single main road, which leads to picnic pavilions, 10 camper hookups, and 4 mineral springs. The central portion of the park is forested in open mature pines and a few hardwoods …
Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge
Choctaw NWR is composed of over 4,000 acres of rivers, sloughs, bottomland hardwood forest, and a small amount of tall-grass cropland. Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites, Anhingas, Purple Gallinules, Least Bitterns, King Rails, and Common Moorhens …