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The Fort Morgan Loop begins at the intersection of AL 59 and AL 180 in Gulf Shores. Much of the Fort Morgan Peninsula is in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, and the extreme western end is in the Fort Morgan Historic State Park. Other parts of the peninsula are under intense development and much of the access is on private property. Only a few service stations and restaurants are available.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – Jeff Friend Trail

The Jeff Friend Trail is a one-mile loop to Little Lagoon. Habitats include maritime forest, freshwater marsh and open water along the north shore of Little Lagoon. A variety of species are possible-waterbirds, raptors, songbirds and other passerines. A small observation deck midway down the trail at Little Lagoon is a great place to set up a spotting scope and scan the water.

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Bon Secour NWR – Mobile Street

Mobile Street is a paved road leading to the beach, with a parking area for the one-mile (each way) Gator Lake Trail, which connects Mobile Street with the Pine Beach Trail. This narrow trail can be good for winter birding where you may see Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Myrtle Warbler. This is also a good vantage point for shorebirds and waders, as well as loons and other seabirds.

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Bon Secour NWR – Pine Beach Trail

At the Pine Beach trailhead stands an interpretive kiosk with trail maps and bird lists. This is a two-mile trail (each way) southeastward to the beach by way of Little Lagoon and Gator Lake. The hike is an enjoyable walk through a variety of habitats including oak mottes, sand pine scrub, fresh and saltwater marshes, dunes and beaches. The Pine Beach Trail will generally have the best birding on the refuge during migration and can also provide excellent winter birding opportunities.

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Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan is a classic migrant trap, and a birding paradise when adverse weather during spring migration may cause spectacular “fallouts” of colorful migrants. Many vagrant species find their way to this favorite birding spot, which can equal Dauphin Island in excitement. In fall, hundreds of migrating hawks can be seen moving west over the Fort. Winter produces many waterbirds and sparrows. Summer is the slowest season, but can be good for terns. There are restrooms at the ferry landing and at the museum, plus a snack bar at the ferry landing. Bird checklists are available at the museum.

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The Pines

The Pines provide the best open view of Bon Secour Bay to the north. If it is a good winter for ducks (cold enough in the North to force them south) there can be large rafts of waterfowl and grebes. Long-tailed Duck and scoters have been observed from this point.

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