Black Belt | Wilcox | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
Shell Creek Park and East Bank Park (also known as Millers Ferry Campground) are located on opposite sides of the Dannelly Reservoir along a deep, wide stretch of the Alabama River. East Bank Park has several distinctive features. To the east side of AL-28 is a long pier over the river, the remains of former Highway 28. To the west side of AL-28 is a long earthen spit. It’s primarily used by bank fishermen, but is an excellent place to scope the shoreline for waders and Anhingas, the skies for Bald Eagles and Ospreys, and the water for waterfowl in the cooler months. To the far southwest of the park is an inlet. Along the shallows here, the shoreline is densely vegetated with needle rush and cattails. Least Bitterns breed here. Look for Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules in the backwaters and along the banks.
The woods contain a variety of songbirds. Expect to see Brown-headed Nuthatches and Red-headed Woodpeckers throughout the year. The park is a good place to see raptors year-round, including Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites in the warmer months.
Shell Creek Park features a particularly nice entrance road bounded on both sides by second-growth woods and scrub. You will see an amazing variety of birds, including White-eyed Vireos, Yellow-breasted Chats, Eastern Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Towhees, Gray Catbirds. Such extensive and accessible emergent woodlands are hard to come by on public lands in the Black Belt.
Inside Shell Creek Park are more second-growth woodlands and a power trail to the west, a boat launch area to the east. The shoreline by the boat launch offers an open view of the water. There is a long-standing Osprey nest ahead and to the right. You’ll see wading birds along the shoreline, and ducks, geese, gulls and terns in migration and in the colder months. Anhingas, Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules, though uncommon, may also be seen here. Look for Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated Warblers in the pines near the water from late March through early autumn. Expect to see a good general assortment of songbirds in the larger trees throughout the year.
These small public use areas can be covered well in two or three hours total. They make an excellent addition to a birding loop including stops at Roland Cooper State Park, Chilatchee Campground and Gee’s Bend. Taken together, these sites would make for a long, full day of birding along the Alabama River southwest of Selma.
GPS: N 32.114149 W -87.391115
Shell Creek Park
8956 Alabama 28
Catherine, AL 36728
Millers Ferry Campground (East Bank Park)
111 East Bank Park
Camden, AL 36726
From the intersection of AL-28 and AL-41 in Camden (Wilcox County–food, fuel, and limited lodging available), take AL-28 west for 10.9 miles. East Bank Park is located along both sides of the road. The entrance road to Shell Creek Park is a mile ahead on the right.
Chilatchee Creek Park
Chilatchee Creek Park is a working campground consisting of mixed mature riparian woods located along the Dannelly Reservoir. You will find many Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated and Pine warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, American Redstarts, Yellow- …
Gee’s Bend Park
The tiny Wilcox County community of Gee’s Bend will provide an entertaining and educational visit. World-famous for its museum-quality quilts, it also provides habitat to good numbers of bottomland woodland birds, including vast numbers of Turkeys an …
Roland Cooper State Park
Roland Cooper State Park is a lovely, wooded lakeside park in rural Wilcox County, which gained a measure of fame as one of the state’s first Bald Eagle nesting sites as the species began its comeback. Eagles are still present much of the year. The p …