North Alabama, Northwest Loop | Colbert | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
The Leighton ponds (Site #5, Northwest Loop) sites are a series of sinkholes and semi-flooded agricultural fields that are excellent for waders and shorebirds. Scan the muddier areas for resident Killdeer alongside migrants such as Semipalmated Plovers and Least Sandpipers. In larger sinkholes, search for Green Herons, American Coots, and perhaps a Common Gallinule. Each pond varies greatly in the amount of water it holds, so the types of micro-habitats range from mudflats to deep water. Regular stops at this area are sure to turn up some real surprises.
GPS Coordinates: 34.7230, -87.4770
Access Information: Roadside viewing, parking shoulder of road only, no amenities.
Unmanaged site with no contact.
From the intersection of CR 22 and CR 48 in Leighton, southeast of Muscle Shoals, go 3 miles east on CR 22. Turn north (left) onto CR 69 (Fennell Road) and travel 1.8 miles. Site is on the shoulder of the road with ponds and sinks on either side of the road. Just north of this area, Fennel Road intersects with CR 24. Go west on CR 24 for 6 miles to Gnat Pond, another series of roadside sinkhole ponds. Visitors should note — birding at these stops will be from public right-of-way roadsides only, with viewing overlooking private lands. As the land is private, appropriate courtesy should be given to low visitor impact and no trespassing. There is no onsite interpretation.
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