Wiregrass | Dale | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
Ed Lisenby Public Fishing Lake is a 92-acre lake surrounded by a variety of woodlands and open marshy areas offering a good diversity of habitat for birds. A well-maintained three-mile hiking trail completely circles the lake, offering exceptional access to the variety of habitats created by the lake. A wooden fishing/observation pier, multiple picnic areas, and clean public restrooms offer additional reasons to visit this well-maintained park.
From the main parking area, look for swallows and Purple Martins over the lake, and note the spit of land that loops along the lake. It forms a small retention pond where waders and shorebirds may be found when human activity in the park is relatively low. Farther away are wooded areas, some mixed hardwoods, others pines. The pines along the lake and above the central picnic area are occupied by Pine Warblers, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebes, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Yellow-throated Warblers spring through early fall.
The Spanish moss–draped trees to the southwest feature Northern Parulas and Eastern Wood Pewees and nesting Red-shouldered Hawks. The grassy, marshy margin here is one of the better locations in the park for wading birds. Expect to see a mixture of herons, egrets, and White Ibises here, particularly in the summer and fall. Anhingas nest nearby and may be seen fishing, sunning, or roosting in this part of the park. The entrance to the three-mile-long walking trail begins at the sign at the far end of the picnic area. The long loop borders the lake, and the mixed woods to the high side of the trail boast a terrific complement of woodland songbirds. There are a wide variety of vireos and warblers here, along with most of the state’s woodpeckers, flycatchers, etc. Good birding and well worth blocking off some significant time for this walk. Mississippi Kites nest locally, and they may be seen sailing and soaring over the forest, often in the vicinity of Black and Turkey Vultures.
The hiking trail rejoins the main body of the park on an unpaved extension of the main road, which loops back to the paved central parking area. There is another grassy, marshy edge here. Again, look for waders, and perhaps some of the larger shorebirds here. The woods along the unpaved road back to the parking area are productive for Red-eyed, Yellow-throated, and White-eyed Vireos, wrens, thrushes, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Great Crested Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos.
GPS: 31.4777884 -85.6336172
Ed Lisenby Public Fishing Lake
(also known as the Dale County Public Fishing Lake)
861 Myrtle Drive
Ozark, AL 36360
From US 84 in Ozark (all visitor services available), turn north onto CR 27/E Andrews Avenue. In 1.3 miles, turn left (NW) onto N Union Avenue. In .9 mile, turn right onto Shadow Wood Lane. In .4 miles, turn left on Myrtle Drive, which dead-ends at the Dale County/Ed Lisenby Lake. Open year-round, except Wednesdays.