Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is an upland hardwood swamp on Spring Creek, made accessible for nature-lovers by a boardwalk built and maintained by the University of Montevallo. The dominant tree is the Tupelo Gum, with a rich mixture of other hardwoods and Loblolly Pine. The birding begins as you approach the boardwalk from the parking area.
The Five Mile Creek Greenway, as it passes through the small historic community of Brookside, provides access to the banks Five Mile Creek for about 3 miles. The Greenway trail begins at the end of the Bensko Park parking lot and winds along via a wide, level, well-maintained path above the creek through alternating groves of mature open-understory hardwoods and more-dense hardwood and second-growth thickets along the banks of the creek.
A little bit off the beaten path but well worth the time, Frog Pond Overlook merits a visit for anyone birding in the Anniston-Gadsden area. The Frog Pond itself is situated in the Choccolocco Forest. Bird the foot path to the pond for woodland species, the pond for wetland species, and the adjacent forest for canopy birds. The Frog Pond is compact, and the immediate area can be covered in 90 minutes. Allow a good half day for the surrounding forest.
The boulder fields of Horse Pens 40 are a fascinating place to visit, at any time of year. The best times for birding are surely during spring and fall migration, when the elevation of the site turns the mountain into a notable migrant trap. The ridges are productive for hawk migration from September through November. Do not neglect to bird the farm and field habitat along US 231 and Ct. Clair County 35 while in the area.
Blount County is the “Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama” with three bridges: Horton Mill, Swann, and Easley. All of the bridges are set in habitat rich with the three factors that are of ultimate importance to wildlife: food, water, and shelter. Horton Mill is the most accessible of the three and is the only one with a dedicated nature trail. The nature trail follows Calvert Prong and hosts a hundred plant species, including 27 fern species.
The James D. Martin Wildlife Park offers exceptional facilities for exploring an extensive backwater of Neely Henry Lake, on the Coosa River in the City of Gadsden. In addition to a walking trail along the shoreline, a network of boardwalks allows visitors to walk out into the 300-acre lake, and even to visit wooded islands situated in the lake, providing superb views of the birdlife of this rich and varied ecosystem.
Kymulga Grist Mill was built around 1860 for grinding both wheat and corn. The covered bridge, spanning Talladega Creek, was built the same year, The park is primarily a wooded area, with walking trails through the woods and along the creek. Protected from disturbance for more than 70 years, over twenty-five varieties of hardwood trees have been identified, including the largest Sugarberry tree in Alabama and the largest cluster of White Oak trees east of the Mississippi River. The park is a migrant magnet in spring and fall. Work the stream and the adjacent woodland trails in the early morning and late afternoon, when bird activity is at its peak and when migrants are arriving or departing.
Lake Purdy is a 990-acre reservoir on the Little Cahaba River which provides drinking water for the City of Birmingham. Surrounded by protected woodlands, the lake and its environs have become one of those rare birding destinations that is always interesting – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Begin your visit with a stop on Highway 119 just before the Cox’s Creek bridge, and scan the shallow water, mudflats and grassy fields on the south side of the road, created where Cox’s Creek spreads out just before it empties into the lake.
Limestone Park’s interesting combination of wetlands, grasslands, and Tupelo Gum swamp is good for wading birds, swamp and marsh birds, grassland species, and some waterfowl in winter. You will also find songbirds and shorebirds in migration. Best birds are Anhinga (breeds), and Bobolinks, Dickcissels, and Grasshopper Sparrows (late spring). A Roseate Spoonbill is sometimes spotted here in summer. The City of Alabaster has recently added a handicapped-accessible Birding Observation Deck overlooking the wetlands on the North-western side of the park, with adjacent parking for all. Located in a rural industrial area in southern Shelby County, this park preserves a rich remnant of the habitat mosaic that makes this area especially attractive to birds.
The Little River Canyon Center, open since 2009, is a Jacksonville State University building located in Northeast Alabama that adjoins the Little River Canyon National Preserve in the city of Fort Payne, AL. The Canyon Center is a good resource to visi …
Canyon Mouth Park offers visitors one of the few opportunities to access the banks of the Little River by car. This is a good place to experience songbirds in the trees near the river, in the dense understory and woods beyond the picnic areas, and along the narrow path that follows the river upstream into the canyon. Soaring birds of prey are frequently seen in the skies above. Picnic tables, restrooms, and ample parking make this a good stopping place for a midday picnic, either before or after exploring the spectacular canyon rim.
Logan Martin Dam is notable for being one of the premier locations in the state for viewing wading birds, particularly Black-crowned Night Herons. Waders in large numbers are attracted to the rough water just below the dam, where an abundance of fish are always available near the rocky shoreline. It is also reliable for year-round sightings of Bald Eagles.