Appalachian Highlands | Calhoun | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
Frog Pond Wildlife Preserve and Observation Area is located on a two-acre seasonal wetland in the hills of Northeast Alabama. This small site packs a lot of birds into a compact area. Expect to find numerous Pine Warblers and Brown-headed Nuthatches, as well as a fine selection of woodland songbirds. Pileated Woodpeckers are quite common, and Wild Turkeys are present in good numbers. The road leading to the site can be rough. It is best to avoid it after heavy rains.
Follow the dirt path to the left of the gate to the Frog Pond Overlook. The trail is a good place to look for songbirds. Follow the trail to the pond. There should be swallows and Chimney Swifts in the skies over the pond from March to September. Belted Kingfishers and Red-shouldered Hawks are common sights in the trees around the pond, and Barred Owls breed in the wet woods. Great Blue and Green herons are frequently seen hunting the shallows in the pond. The woods ringing the pond are good for Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos. Cedar Waxwings are often abundant in winter, and some stay to breed.
While you’re in the area, follow the winding gravel and dirt roads to explore the surrounding forest. In fact, much of the best birding in the area can be had by following the roads through the forest, stopping often to look and listen. The roads can be very bumpy and somewhat rutted, so driving slowly is not only helpful for listening and looking, but advisable for safety. The open, mature stands of pine in the Choccolocco State Forest are excellent places to search for the elusive Bachman’s Sparrow. In the spring, listen for their distinctive, plaintive “Heeeeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty” song. They are not difficult to spot when actively singing in breeding season.
GPS: 33.714045 -85.6643037
Mailing Address (not physical address)
700 Pelham Rd. N. Suite 246 Martin
Jacksonville, AL 36265-1602
Amenities: parking, trail
From I-20 in Calhoun County, take exit 191 and turn north on US 431. At the “T” intersection (.2 mile), turn right onto US 78 and follow 78 for approximately 4 miles. Turn left (north) on AL 9 (gas pumps and convenience store at the intersection) and follow for 5 miles. Turn right on (unpaved) Joseph Springs Road and follow .3 mile. Turn left at and park at the yellow pipe gate. Follow signs to the foot path to Frog Pond Overlook.
Amenities Available: Gravel or Dirt Trails
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