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Marion County Lake

West Alabama | Marion | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring

A pleasant way to spend a few hours, the lake is moderate in size, with open, tall pines along its borders. There is considerable dense second-growth bordering the entrance road and all around the margins of the property. This is a good place to find swallows and pine-woods birds, and there is also good dense second-growth for under- and mid-story dwelling birds. Kingfishers, swallows (including Tree), Parulas, and Pine and Yellow-throated warblers are common here. You will see Indigo Buntings; Wood Thrushes; Hooded, Kentucky, and Black-and-white warblers; Summer Tanagers; cuckoos; and several flycatchers and woodpeckers. The lake is closed in December and January.

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Moundville Archaeological Park

West Alabama | Hale | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

The park’s many large Mississipian-era American Indian mounds dot a large open field with multiple marshes. Red-winged Blackbirds, a few herons, and the occasional shorebird may be seen here. The west side of the park abuts the Black Warrior River. In the parking and picnic areas are scattered mature trees, and the north side of the park is bordered by a dense stand of hardwoods. A good mix of songbirds, woodpeckers, and raptors may be found at the park, making this a fruitful site for three seasons.

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Old Lock 7 Complex, West Damsite Park

West Alabama | Greene | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring

There are two sections to this recreation area. To the south is a more park-like development with a camping area and a few picnic tables. The northern section is a parking lot overlooking the river and a boat ramp. A general mix of woodland songbirds are found here, most notably many Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parulas (both sections), and Louisiana Waterthrushes (southern portion). Consider combining this stop with the nearby Eutaw Airport for field and pinewoods birds.

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Old Lock 8 Park

West Alabama | Hale | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring

Vastly similar to other such parks along the Black Warrior River, Lock 8 offers deep river, mixed woods along the banks, a picnic shed, and a boat ramp. Good for Northern Parulas and Prothonotary and Yellow-throated warblers. You will find woodland migrants in the thicker woods, and look for Swainson’s Warblers in swamps near the entrance. Vultures and sometimes eagles roost in pines on the riverbank.

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Payne Lake Recreation Area Oakmulgee Div. Talladega National Forest

West Alabama | Hale | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

Payne Lake is a productive site for woodland and riparian birds in all but the dead of summer. Open, mature trees near the lake are excellent for riparian songbirds. The pinewoods slopes along the road to the north have Bobwhites and turkeys. Look for Bald Eagles around the lake, and Swainson’s Warblers, Acadian Flycatchers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and cuckoos along the nature trail to the extreme north.

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Pickensville Recreation Area

West Alabama | Pickens | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

This is an extensive recreation area that stretches from a picnic area and small boardwalk to a campground complex 2.5 miles down the road. Visitors can follow the road a few more miles to reach the west side of the Bevill Lock and Dam. You’ll find many different habitat types here: early second-growth, open park-like pine-oak woodlands, riverbanks, and the lock and dam. The numerous habitats attract a great variety of birds, and some very interesting ones, too, such as Anhingas and Wood Thrushes.

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Red-cockaded Woodpecker Colony

West Alabama | Bibb | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer

The Oakmulgee Division of the Talladega National Forest contains the state’s largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The birds nest and forage exclusively in stands of open, mature pines, where they are easiest to find early and late in the day. The best season is spring, when adult birds are near their nests much of the day. Bachman’s Sparrows are found in the same or similar habitat, and numerous songbirds are found here, both in the pine forest and in nearby tracts of hardwoods. This is an extremely productive area – well worth a special trip.

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Rocky Branch Park

There are several waterfront parks in the vicinity of Tuscaloosa. Rocky Branch is the northernmost in a cluster of parks on Holt Lake. Comprised of steep forested slopes leading to the deep waters, it is best birded for songbirds in spring and fall migration, and for wintering birds in the colder months.

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Runaway Branch Park

West Alabama | Greene | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter

Runaway Branch Park has two segments – called RP I and RP II – that bound the same body of water from the east and west. Expect the water to draw spring and fall migrants and riparian-type breeding birds. Look for both kites and Wood Storks in summer, and waterfowl in winter.

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Tom Bevill Lock and Dam Visitors Center

West Alabama | Pickens | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

The Bevill Visitors Center grounds feature short-grass lawns with scattered small shade trees. The property is home to numerous bluebirds and various blackbird species. There are numerous songbirds in the trees in and near the parking areas. Look for gulls, eagles, and deep-water ducks in the adjacent Aliceville Lake in winter. The heavily wooded entrance road leading to the visitors center offers outstanding songbirding opportunities throughout the year.

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University of Alabama Arboretum

The single best location in Tuscaloosa for songbirds, the arboretum is a “must-see” for birders. Best in spring and fall migration, it is also a valuable resource for wintering birds. Easily accessed and compact enough to cover in less than half a day, this is the spot to find warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, and sparrows on all but the hottest days of summer.

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Walker County Fishing Lake

West Alabama | Walker | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring

A delightful birding experience awaits at Walker County Lake. Tree Swallows are abundant here – many nesting pairs are present, along with numerous Purple Martins. Breeding Yellow Warblers have been identified here, and many additional songbird species are present from April through October. The park should prove to be a productive site for spring and fall migrants, as well as for long-legged waders in late spring and summer.

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West Blocton Coke Ovens Park

West Alabama | Bibb | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring

Easily surveyed in a couple of hours, Coke Ovens Park is a worthwhile stop near the Cahaba National Wildlife Reserve, the Bibb Glades, and Living River. In addition to customary woodland canopy birds and open county species such as Eastern Kingbirds and Bluebirds, the major attraction is the small stream that parallels the park’s primary N-S road; which provides opportunities to see Swainson’s Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers up close.

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