The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in the Conecuh National Forest is operated by Auburn University and hosts classes and conducts research projects throughout the year. The 5,300-acre tract offers a tremendous diversity of plants, many of which provide food and cover for birds.This is an excellent birding site. There are multitudes of pinewoods birds, including numerous Bachman’s Sparrows, and good numbers of wetland birds. Swallow-tailed Kites breed nearby. Visitors should make it a point to call ahead (334-222-7779) or stop by the HQ to secure permission before venturing out onto the acreage.
Much of the 84-acre Washington County Public Lake is surrounded by mixed second-growth forest with dense underbrush. Anhingas, wading birds, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles are regular visitors to the lake. Orchard Orioles, Purple Martins, and Barn Swallows nest in the picnic area. Brown-headed Nuthatches, Hooded Warblers, and Eastern Towhees are found in the pines and underbrush.
Bird the hardwoods within the RV park and the understory around its margins for Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Downy Woodpeckers, and Great Crested Flycatchers. Then canoe Kimbell Lake and the tupelo and bald cypress swamps that surround it. In spring and early summer, multiple pairs of Red-bellied and Pileated woodpeckers fill the air with a cacophony of calls and drumming. Northern Parulas, Prothonotary Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats announce their presence with their distinctive and easily recognizable songs. Great Egrets and Great Blue and Little Blue herons stalk the swamps. And be sure to listen for the distinctive two-syllable “Na-ha” call of the Fish Crow.
Extensive marsh in the east and southwest parts of the old quarry, now lake and cypress swamp southwest of the old quarry will be of particular interest to birders. Shore birds observed on the margins of the lake include Least Bitterns, Soras, Least and Spotted sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, and Killdeer.
Bashi Creek Public Use Area provides the birder with access to the floodplain forests along Bashi Creek. Canoeing/kayaking east up Bashi Creek in the spring and summer lets you immerse yourself in excellent riparian habitat; sycamore, oak, and cypress forest line both sides of the creek for several miles upstream from its confluence with the Tombigbee.
Mature cottonwoods cover much of the meander core, while willows and some small cypress occur at the water’s edge. Birding is excellent year-round and spring and fall can bring a wide variety of migrants. Winter brings Bald Eagles, House Wrens, and Orange-crowned Warblers. Ospreys and Caspian Terns frequently fish the waters below the dam during migration.
Purple Gallinules, Snowy and Great egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Wood Ducks are regulars along the dikes separating the ponds. Watch the willows in the western pond for Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. Black Terns and Swallow-tailed Kites may be present in late summer, and American Bitterns are winter residents.
Bobwhites, Eastern Towhees, and Northern Cardinals can be seen year-round, while White-eyed Vireos, Hooded Warblers, and Indigo Buntings are present in the spring and summer. Cerulean Warblers and Scarlet Tanagers may be found during migration, and Yellow-throated Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Northern Parulas are summer residents.
Great Crested Flycatchers, White-eyed Vireos, Northern Parulas, Summer Tanagers, Indigo Buntings, and Orchard Orioles are common summer residents. Check the lawn area for Common Ground Doves, and watch for Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites either foraging just above the tree tops or soaring at high altitude. Spring and fall witness the passage of numerous migrants including Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
Claiborne Lake Dam Site East P …
McDuffie Landing, a 116-acre t …
Bells Landing Park’s 320 acres contain a variety of habitats, ranging from pine forest atop the uplands at the entrance to river bottom hardwoods along Tallatchee Creek.
This site is the northernmost …
Staples Bridge (US Highway 84) …
The Brooklyn access is the southernmost take-out for the Sepulga River Canoe Trail and the take-out for paddles from the Iron Bridge, PWBT Site 17.
Leon Brooks Hines Lake is a 184-acre man-made lake surrounded by more than 700 acres of long-leaf pine forest that is subjected to regular burns. There are also some small hardwood stands, and a pitcher plant bog is located at the north end of lake. Although there are no hiking trails as such, there are poorly maintained access roads in the forest almost all of the way around the lake that can be birded. A US Forest Service sponsored Red-cockaded Woodpecker restoration project is active around the lake.
Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds are attracted year-round to the diamond leaf and water oak, tupelo, and bald cypress that grow in the wetlands. Brewer’s Blackbirds join them in the winter. Belted Kingfishers are a common sight on Big Escambia Creek as are Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Green Herons. Mississippi Kites forage just above the tree tops in spring and summer, and the occasional Osprey may be seen during spring and fall migration.
Little River State Forest is a 960-acre park that includes 25-acre manmade Blacksher Lake and 4.7 miles of hiking trails. The unpaved 1.5-mile Gazebo Road parallels the Gazebo Trail and offers an alternative to the Gazebo hike. Birding the grounds around the picnic area and lake will produce a number of open woodland species such as Brown-headed Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers, and Northern Cardinals year-round. Winter brings flocks of American Robins, Chipping Sparrows, and American Goldfinches. Pied-billed Grebes winter on the lake.
This is the put-in for a 7.5-m …