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The Piney Woods Birding Trail links 22 outstanding birding sites in Washington, Clarke, Monroe, Conecuh, and Escambia Counties in southwest Alabama. One of the most unique features of the Piney Woods Birding Trail is that so many of the sites offer the opportunity to view birds by boat.

Paddle on Parker and Kimbell Lakes, Bashi Creek, Tallatchee Creek, the Alabama River, and the Sepulga River, and you’ll see a landscape that looks much the way early naturalists like John James Audubon saw it when they traveled through this region in the early 1800s.

Bashi Creek Public Use Area

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.

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Bells Landing Park

Central Loop, Piney Woods | Monroe | Best Seasons:

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. Continue west 0.4 miles to the parking area at the boat ramp and park.The road to …

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Brooklyn access and southern terminus of the Sepulga River Canoe Trail

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. Bird the undergrowth at the boat ramp for Brown Thrashers, Gray Catbirds, and White-eyed Vireos. Norther …

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Claiborne Lake Dam Site East Park

Dock on Isaac Creek.

Claiborne Lake Dam Site East Park’s 500 acres contain a variety of habitats. The area near the entrance is loblolly pine plantation. Park at the Alabama River Museum and bird the edges of the pines. Summer Tanagers, Pine Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and …

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Claiborne Lake Dam Site West Park

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.

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Haines Island Park

Haines Island Park’s entrance is located in a pine dominated forest atop the Buhrstone Questa (an escarpment that rises more than 350 feet above the surrounding area and extends from Mississippi across western Alabama); park at the playground and picni …

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Iron Bridge access to the Sepulga River Canoe Trail

This is the put-in for a 7.5-mile paddle down the Sepulga River to the Brooklyn take-out (Piney Woods Birding Trail [PWBT] site 18 and southern terminus of the Sepulga River Canoe Trail). Second growth river bottom hardwood forest with a good bit of cy …

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J. Emmett Woods Public Fishing Lake

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.

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Jackson Water Treatment Ponds

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.

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Kimbell Lake

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.

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Leon Brooks Hines Public Lake (Escambia County Public Lake)

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.

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Little River State Forest

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.

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McDuffie Landing (Permit required for entry)

McDuffie Landing, a 116-acre tract of land owned by the US Corps of Engineers, is currently open only for hunting and bird watching. A written permit is required for entry. Permits are free of charge and are issued annually after September 1. They may …

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Monroe County Lake

The Monroe County Lake is a 94-acre manmade lake with an unpaved access road on its east and south sides. Upland loblolly pine forest surrounds the lake on three sides. A hardwood swamp extends north from the lake up its main tributary. Drive (walk) no …

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Old Lock 1 Park

Piney Woods, Western Loop | Clarke | Best Seasons:

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.

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