Ashland City Park preserves 27 acres of mixed hardwoods and pines along a tributary of Horsetrough Creek, with a well-maintained walking path as well as children’s playground, picnic tables, and a skateboard park. The land to the left (east) of the entrance road provides an opportunity to survey old-field habitat. Expect to see Eastern Meadowlarks and Field Sparrows throughout the year. Red-tailed Hawks hunt here, and this is a good place to spot Great Horned Owls.
The Alexander City Sportsplex is an island of green minutes from US-280. Varied habitats promise a worthwhile birding destination. Trees here are home to resident songbirds, and provide a welcome stopover for migrants. Hawks and vultures soar above, Eastern Bluebirds nest throughout, and dense second-growth at the south end of the park is good for Indigo Buntings, sparrows, wrens, and more.
Central Alabama Community College offers access to an open lake, scattered stands of mature hardwoods and pines, and a forested area as well as open, grassy lawns, all of which will attract their share of birdlife around the year.The lake in the center of campus merits a look for swallows, waders, orioles, and kingbirds. Nearby large pines have Brown-headed Nuthatches, Pine Warblers, and woodpeckers. The woods to the south side of the loop road are often productive, and the open pines and the wooded slope on the backside of campus are worth a look. Combine this site with a stop at nearby Sportplex.
Chewacla State Park’s 696 scenic acres offer a 26-acre lake, swimming area, playgrounds, hiking trails, a modern campground, picnic areas with tables, grills and shelters, and newly renovated cabins. The woods in the park are good for a variety of woodland songbirds, so be on the alert for such birds as Summer Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, and American Goldfinches. The presence of the lake and streams within the park adds significantly to the number and variety of species one may encounter here year-round.
The Clay County Public Fishing Lakes are attractive and open, with waders and Wood Ducks present year-round. Expect waterfowl in winter; look for Ospreys and Bald Eagles over the lakes all year. Fields near the entrance have Northern Bobwhites, Eastern Meadowlarks, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and Red-tailed Hawks. All-age woods around the lakes abound with songbirds. Look for swallows and Purple Martins over the water.
Confederate Memorial Park is a little-known jewel. The upper portion of the park features open understory and mature canopy trees — outstanding for flycatchers, woodpeckers, bluebirds, warblers, and vireos. The cemetery area affords open views of sky for soaring birds. Walk the nature trail; it is bird-rich. The area near the cistern is an outstanding location for Swainson’s Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers.
Cooter’s Pond Park, on the banks of the Alabama River, is divided into two parts — the upper section offers wooded areas, open fields, picnic pavilions, and views of the Montgomery skyline. The lower section offers a riverwalk and access to picnic areas and boat ramps. Cooter’s Pond is full of songbirds – Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parula warblers, American Redstarts, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and even Painted Buntings are here in the warm months. There are always Eastern Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches; watch the water for Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and waterfowl, the latter primarily in winter. Excellent year-round, this site can be phenomenal during spring and fall migration.
Fort Toulouse-Jackson National Historic Park is situated where the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers meet to form the headwaters of the Alabama River. The park preserves relics of over 6,000 years of human history within its 165 acres of woodlands and fields bordering the two rivers. The rich riparian habitat makes this especially attractive to birds. After turning off US 231, check the fields for Eastern Meadowlarks and Northern Bobwhites – and Northern Harriers and American Kestrels in winter. The open swamp on the right of the entrance road has Anhingas and Prothonotary Warblers.
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park commemorates the battle in 1814 between Colonel Andrew Jackson and the Creek Indian nation. The fields, forests, waterways and trails of Horseshoe Bend NMP offer excellent opportunities to observe birds in a variety of habitats. The bluffs overlooking the river offer stands of River Birches, with the nearby understory featuring multitudes of bird-attracting American Beautyberry bushes. Birds found in good numbers in spring and summer include Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated and Hooded Warblers, and American Redstarts, Wood Thrushes, Summer Tanagers, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos.
The Alabama Nature Center in Lanark offers 350 acres of forests, fields, streams, wetlands and ponds that are traversed by five miles of boardwalks and trails in three regions: Still Creek Run, Turkey Ridge, and Hilltop Pass. The trails provide easy access to the surrounding woodlands to look for Summer Tanagers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood Peewees, Wood Thrushes, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. In winter, expect Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets to join the local feeding flocks in the trees, with Hermit Thrushes below.
Lineville City Park provides access to two lakes, one of which is used for fishing. As one enters the park, the lake is surrounded by a walking trail bordered by woods, and featuring views of the highest point in Alabama, Mt. Cheaha. The lower lake is more secluded, and is more likely to be visited by wild waterfowl in the colder months. Expect to see long-legged waders – herons and egrets. Search for resting night-herons and possibly American Bitterns where the vegetation is thickest.
Wind Creek State Park is situated on a wooded promontory overlooking Lake Martin. Ospreys and Bald Eagles nest on the lake and both species may be seen throughout the year. The lake may attract rafts of wintering ducks, most numerous from late November through February. Very good for riparian warblers in warm months, and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, all year. Numerous picnic pavilions, good lake access for swimming, fishing, and boating.