Marion County Public Lake is a well maintained man-made lake surrounded by mixed woodland. The entrance road offers views into a oak/pine forest with open patches that are warm-season homes to American Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings and Eastern Wood-Pewees. Stop on the narrow bridge for Eastern Phoebe and possibly Louisiana Waterthrush. You can spot Eastern Wood Pewees, Summer Tanagers, Red-eyed Vireos, and several species of woodpeckers in the mature mixed pine-oak woods. This road should be highly productive during spring and fall migration. This is a good location for Eastern Screech-Owls and Barred Owls.
The entrance road terminates at a headquarters building. Take the road to the left (south) and follow it toward the dam. There is an open view of the lake to the right, with thick mixed woods to the left. The woods house Indigo Buntings, Gray Catbirds, and White-eyed Vireos; Wood Thrushes and Hooded and Kentucky Warblers are also fairly common here. Occasionally a path leads off into the woods. Short strolls along these paths may bring you in close proximity to many of the species found here, as the birds suffer little pressure from the majority of visitors. The all-weather road provides access to various picnic tables, some of which offer unimpeded views of the entire lake. From these vantage points, Great Blue and Green Herons can often be seen on the margins of the lake. Belted Kingfishers and swallows (primarily Barn and Tree, with some Purple Martins, Rough-winged, and Cliff mixed in for good measure) can be seen near or just above the waters. Osprey and Bald Eagles may be seen here on occasion, as well. Most the picnic areas are forested with mature stands of open pines, which are home to Red-headed Woodpeckers, Chipping Sparrows, Pine Warblers, Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Brown-headed Nuthatches. Phoebes are quite common, as are Orchard Orioles, Summer Tanagers, and Great Crested Flycatchers. The road terminates at the dam. Gray Catbirds, White-eyed Vireos, and Common Yellowthroats are found here. Look for Wild Turkeys early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Common hawks seen in the area are Red-shouldered, Broad-winged, Cooper’s, and Red-tailed.
The Lake is easily reached, as it is located only two miles south of the I-22/US 43 exit. This site may be conveniently paired with a visit to the Marion County Indian Mounds Park, which is four miles north on U.S. and offers different habitats.
Much of this park can be birded from your car or from several paved parking areas. During the week, the paved roads are very sparsely traveled as well, allowing for multiple stops.
GPS: 34.0501383 -87.972598
Marion County Lake
554 County Road 148
Guin, AL 35563
From I-22 (US 78) in Hamilton, take exit 16 and merge onto US 43 S. Continue 1.5 miles on US 43 and turn right (east) onto CR 148 at the sign for the public fishing lake. The entrance is .4 mile ahead.
Amenities Available: Boat Launch, Gravel or Dirt Trails, Picnic Tables