Lagoon Park is a large public park in northeast Montgomery that includes a golf course, softball complex with multiple fields, fitness trail through piney woods, and, of great interest to birders, a series of lagoons bordered by open and level walking paths.
The lagoons attract scores of swallows and Purple Martins from March through Labor Day, and occasional small rafts of dabbling ducks in winter. Look for wading birds throughout the year – especially in late summer and fall – around the margins of the lagoons and near puddles after major rains. You will most likely see Belted Kingfishers and Red-winged Blackbirds, while you can always find Eastern Phoebes and Eastern Bluebirds around the fences and structures. Watch for Osprey over the water, mostly in spring and fall migration. Sift the mixed-species winter blackbird flocks for Rusty Blackbirds.
The picnic area to the south is beneath mature pines. You’ll find Pine Warblers and Brown-headed Nuthatches all year, while Yellow-throated Warblers nest here. An open field lies farther south. Eastern Meadowlarks and hawks – Red-shouldered and Red-tailed year-round, Broad-winged from April through September — often soar overhead.
Across the pavement from the picnic area is a wetland that borders the pavement and is backed by an expanse of bottomland hardwoods. Breeding birds range from Eastern Towhees, Gray Catbirds, Common Yellowthroats, and Acadian Flycatchers to White-eyed and Yellow-throated vireos, Northern Parulas, American Redstarts, Summer Tanagers, and Barred Owls. Look for Blue-headed Vireos in winter. To the north and across the pavement again, the wet ditch becomes a stream. Waders, such as Green Herons, both types of Night-Herons, and sometimes a Little Blue Heron or Snowy Egret can be found in or near this stream – most often from July through October.
The trees to the west are home to Indigo Buntings, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Orchard Orioles, Eastern Kingbirds, Blue Grosbeaks, and Eastern Wood-Pewees from spring through fall. The border here should teem with sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets in winter. The stream may produce American Pipits, and the fence rows often host Palm Warblers from fall through spring.
There’s a paved path through the woods just west of the parking area for the lagoons and picnic area. Walk this trail in spring and fall for a good mix of migrant songbirds. And don’t neglect the wooded entrance road. There is a general woodland songbird mix on offer here throughout the year. Follow Dickinson Drive to the south and pull to the shoulder of the road at intervals to bird the scrub and second-growth woodlands for still more birds.
Lagoon Park is extensive, with several distinct areas worth exploring. Allot a half-day to cover the park thoroughly, or an hour to 90 minutes for a quick pass for migrants or for scoping the lagoons.
GPS: N 32.414856 W -86.225731
Montgomery Parks and Recreation: (334) 625-2300
From I-65 in northern Montgomery, take exit 173 (Northern Boulevard) and follow US-231 for 6.3 miles. Turn right at Cong. W L Dickinson Drive, and in .4 miles turn left onto Gunter Park Road, which terminates at the park’s lagoons.