Piedmont Plateau | Chilton | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
Confederate Memorial Park is a quiet, secluded 102 acres that affords an excellent diversity of bird life. In the upper portion of the park, the mature, open canopy of mostly hardwood trees rings with the songs and calls of flycatchers and woodpeckers, including Pileateds and Red-heads, from spring through fall. Follow the activity and the calls of the abundant locals (Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Downy Woodpeckers) to find migrants and winter visitors in season. Eastern Bluebirds are common permanent residents, and the resident population of Chipping Sparrows is augmented by Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows in the colder months.
The cemetery area offers an unobstructed southeastern view of the horizon, and is the best spot to scan the skies for soaring Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Broad-winged (spring-fall) Hawks, as well as both vulture species. Expect to find Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and Orchard Orioles in the woods surrounding the cemetery.
The gem of the park, however, is the Nature Trail – an easy, level walk that begins its loop just north of the main road through the park. The understory is thick, and you should encounter numerous Carolina Wrens and White-eyed Vireos (spring through fall). Red-eyed Vireos are abundant in the hardwood midstory from April through early October. This is an excellent place to spot Hooded Warblers and Wood Thrushes in the warm months. From fall through spring, you will see a variety of sparrows, including Fox Sparrows.
Spend time at the stop marked #8 – the cistern. There is a small wooded creek here that winds along the trail for the next half of the walk, and it is in this area that you should spot Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Vireos, and an easily accessed population of the rare Swainson’s Warbler. Look for Winter and House Wrens in the cooler months, and Gray Catbirds year-round. Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated Warblers breed here, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers will be abundant in the warm months. A Cooper’s Hawk might flash by at any moment, and Barred Owls are common.
Creature comforts in the park include a staffed museum, gift shop, and indoor, climate-controlled restrooms.
GPS: 32.7190089 -86.473942
Take I-65 south from Birmingham, north from Montgomery and take exit 205 onto US-31. Travel east on US-31 for 9.2 miles, then left onto Chilton County 143. The park is ahead in .5 miles.
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