Birmingham Audubon Society

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October 2014
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Birmingham Audubon
Birmingham Audubon Bulletin Board PDF Print Email

November 1, 2014 Field Trip

Railroad Park and Avondale Park
8 a.m.
Railroad Park Pavilion
1600 1st Avenue South

Our journey will begin downtown at Railroad Park and continue to nearby Avondale Park following a morning break at Urban Standard. Birds at Railroad Park may include song sparrows, savannah sparrows, Cooper’s hawks, American kestrels and, perhaps, a peregrine falcon. Historic Avondale Park, located at 4101 5th Avenue South, is also the site of a project by Birmingham Audubon and Avondale Samaritan Place to restore and revive the Rose and Habitat Garden. We will learn the latest details on this project in addition to looking for birds. Meet at the Railroad Park Pavilion, break for a snack at Urban Standard (2320 2nd Ave. North) then move on to Avondale Park (4101 5th Ave South).

This trip will consist of mostly of walking, so be prepared to be on your feet for the morning. We recommend that you bring along drinks and snacks as while as appropriate clothing for November weather.Trip leader Susan Barrow 205-943-8667 (h) 205-253-8667 (m).



Planting Work Days
November 1, 2014
9 a.m. – Noon
November 2, 2014
1-4 p.m.
Avondale Rose & Habitat Garden
Avondale Park, 40th Street South, 35222

Meet at the Rose Garden Pavilion to help install several hundred native plants. Project Leader: Michelle Reynolds, Birmingham Audubon. To volunteer, contact Adam Guthrie, Avondale Samaritan Place, 205-999-3963 or



Prairie Seed Collecting Field Trip

November 8, 2014
7 a.m.
Hoover McDonald’s
1731 Montgomery Highway

Join Birmingham Audubon’s Saturday, November 8 field trip to the Black Belt to collect seeds from native prairie plants to use in the establishment of a prairie habitat site in Alabaster’s Limestone Park. While the primary purpose is to collect seeds, some birding will be included in this field trip. Staff will guide us through the University of West Alabama (UWA) restored prairie, help identify various plant species, and introduce field trip participations to plant adaptations and use by birds and other wildlife.

We will depart at 7 a.m. from the Hoover McDonald’s on U.S. 31S (across from the Galleria) 1731 Montgomery Highway. After visiting UWA’s prairie, we’ll have lunch at the Tres Hermanos Mexican restaurant. Please dress for the weather and come with a pair of scissors, light weight garden gloves, a full tank of gas, water, snacks, your binoculars, camera and an inquisitive mind. Bags for the seed will be provided. Trip leader: Dick Mills 205-873-0174.



Veteran’s Day Beginner Bird Walk

November 11, 2014
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Join us at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for the Beginner’s Bird Walk. Participants, all ages welcomed, will be given instruction on how to use binoculars, and spot and identify birds. Hawks, woodpeckers and nuthatches may be among the birds seen. Early winter migrants such as hermit thrush and golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets may also be spotted.

This bird walk is intended for anyone who considers themselves a beginner bird watcher. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Birmingham Audubon will provide binoculars or you may bring your own.

Reservations required: Call Helena Uber-Wamble, Teaching Naturalist at 205-714-8228. Please leave your name, contact phone number, email address, number of adults, and number of children with the children’s ages. Confirmation and meet-up plans will follow.



Fall Campout
November 14-16, 2014
Foscue Creek Park Campground
Demopolis, AL

Foscue Creek Park lies south of the confluence of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers. The waters and woods of the campground hold chances for viewing wintering and resident waterfowl, permanent woodland residents, wintering songbirds and sparrows. The campground has a boat ramp and a hiking trail. Five campsites, reserved in Campout leader’s (Maureen Shaffer) name, are spacious, private and near the water. They feature picnic tables, electric and water hookups and campfire rings with grill. In addition to the campground, there are two other Birding Trail sites in Demopolis. For questions or further information, please contact Maureen Shaffer at 205-822-8728 (h) or 205-222-2662 (m)

GPS: 32.512838 -87.87181
Foscue Creek Park Campground
1800 Lock and Dam Road
Demopolis, AL 36732
(334) 289-5535



John DindoMembership Program

“Coastal Alabama: It’s for the Birds”
John Dindo, Associate Director, Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, East Room
November 20, 2014
7 p.m.

Mobile Bay is the fourth largest drainage basin in North America by volume and provides a continuous supply of nutrients that make the bay highly productive. Colonies of herons and egrets can be found from the Mobile-Tensaw Delta to the islands within Mississippi Sound. John Dindo, associate director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, will discuss several hot spots of coastal birding along Alabama’s gulf coast. For example, Gaillard Island, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spoil island, has become the site for the largest single colony of brown pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico. The island is also used by a plethora of other birds in the spring and summer.



November 22 Field Trip

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
7 a.m.
Meet: Wells Fargo Bank, Gardendale

View thousands of snow geese, ducks, ducks and more ducks, perhaps a few Sandhill cranes, various hawk species and whatever decides to surprise us at one of the South’s best autumn birding spots!

Travel Plans: Our gathering place is the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank at the Fieldstown Road Shopping Center in Gardendale, just off I-65 North at exit #271 (665Fieldstown Road, Gardendale, AL, 35071). Turn right on to Fieldstown Road, another right onto Odum Road, and an immediate left into the shopping center. We will leave at 7 a.m. and caravan up I-65 toward Decatur to the Priceville exit (# 334), a drive of approximately 60 miles, and reconvene at the Hardee’s at 8:30 a.m.

After a rest break, we will announce any further details. Dwight Cooley, refuge manager, will lead us through various sections of the refuge and we will travel to areas that are behind gates normally locked and inaccessible to cars.

This is an all-day trip. Bring a picnic lunch, drinks and snacks. If you do not have binoculars, we will have some for use on this trip. For those who wish, supper may be shared at a local restaurant at day’s end. Trip leader: Greg Harber, 205-251-2133.

Last Updated ( Friday, 31 October 2014 07:12 )
Upcoming Field Trips PDF Print Email

Birmingham Audubon Field Trips 2014-2015

Birders copyAll Birmingham Audubon field trips are free and open to the public. Field Trips are held on Saturdays. The Beginner Bird Walks are held another day; please note day.



11-1         Railroad Park, Avondale Park and East Lake
11-1         Nov 1-2 Planting Work Days at Avaondale Park
11-8         Prairie Seed Collecting and Habitat Restoration Field Trip 
11-11       Beginner Bird Walk –Veteran's Day

11-14/16  Foscue Creek Campground Campout
11-16       Audubon Teaches Nature
11-20       Coastal Alabama: It’s for the Birds
11-22       Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
1-28       Birmingham Christmass Bird Count

No Field Trips

1-10       Guntersville, AL
1-17       Cahaba Treatment Plant
1-19       Beginner Bird Walk – Martin Luther King Day

2-7         Beeswax Creek and Lake Purdy
2-14       Great Back Yard Bird Count - Birmingham Zoo
2-21       Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson Wetumpka Astrobleme

MARCH 2015

3-7         Limestone Park and Ebenezer Swamp
3-21       Perry Lakes and environs
3-29       Beginner Bird Walk – Sunday

APRIL 2015
4-4         Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
4-11       Vulcan Trail

MAY 2015
5-1,2,3   Campout - Wehle Nature Center with a field trip May 2nd for the day trippers
5-23       Hamilton Indian MoundsHamilton, First Marion County Courthouse and Military Road, Marion Public Fishing Lake, and environs

JUNE 2015

6-13        Beginner Bird Walk – Saturday
6-20        Paint Rock-Larkin Fork, Walls of Jericho, Skyline Wildlife Management Area

July 2015

7-28        Kite Trip #1  Prattville, Autaugaville, AL

Audubon Teaches Nature
Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 October 2014 14:30 )
Field Trip Reports 2014 PDF Print Email

Old Cahawba, March 1, 2014

Coleman Lake, February 1, 2014

Wheeler NWR, January 20, 2014

Guntersville Lake, January 18, 2014

(Index to all Field Trip Reports)

Old Cahawba 3-1-2014

Autaugaville and Prattville 7-26-14

Saturday, July 26th, Birmingham Audubon members and guests ventured south in search of Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites on both sides of the Alabama River west of Prattville. And we're happy to report that our quest was successful!

Our first sighting was a lone Mississippi kite circling above the US 82 bypass just south of the turn at AL Hwy 14 on the west side of town. This proved to be typical of the remainder of the morning - single birds flying just above treetop level in two other locations along Hwy 14 or the county roads that extend south from it to the river. We checked CR 29, 27, 50 and 41, and found species typical of that area and this time if year - in other words, hordes of Rough-winged Swallows, vultures and a smattering of egrets and herons flapping past. The rough-wings were especially noticeable along CR 21 in a field opposite the model airplane site. Hundreds were barely buzzing the ground as they fed.

The south end of CR 21, at the large expanse of pasture, yielded no kites of either species but we did observe an Osprey flying above the trees in the distance as it followed the course of the river heading upstream (west to east).

The home-style cooking at Chef Lee's in Autaugaville was on tap for lunch as our birding trip morphed into a rolling mini-economic development engine. When our group of 35+ people descended we pretty much filled the entire seating capacity. Those already seated there quickly finished and headed out the door. I'm pretty sure we depleted them of their fried catfish while topping off our internal tanks with refreshing sweet tea.

swallow-tailed kite GH 2014We departed from there to the south side of the river, to CR 40 (aka Jones Bluff Road) where we had such success finding kites last year. Here we hit pay dirt in the form of two tractors cutting hay in the field on the north side of the road, about 1 mile north of the railroad tracks. There were approximately 15 swallow-tailed and 30 Mississippi kites working the scene, snatching insects out of the air in advance of the tractors. The scene we witnessed here pretty much explained the dearth of birds on the north side of the river; they are found wherever the action is - find a farmer cutting his hay and you'll likely find kites feeding.

Following this we retraced our route east on CR 40 to the "ghost town" at Robinson's Switch - collection of old wooden buildings gathered on either side of the road, adjacent to the railroad tracks. It's a site that always begs for a photography stop and a quiet moment as one strolls beneath the drapery of Spanish moss. Virginia Creeper, coated in a fine layer of clay the color of the South, cloaks the wooden boards - giving silent testimony to the small community that once breathed here.

Cattle egretOur final birding destination was the gator farm near Grady, but not before our dinner at Red's Little Schoolhouse. Once again, Southern cooking ruled the place and was tasty as always. The hordes of egrets and herons returning to the rookery are a spectacular sight. Mostly they are Cattle Egrets, but we did observe Little Blue Herons, White Ibises and Great Egrets among the masses. As has happened in the past, a splashing in the water or thrashing on the ground below the nest trees signaled the demise of another wayward nestling that strayed too far and met its fate in the jaws of a gator - a National Geographic moment in the heart of Alabama.

Photo Credits: Greg Harber and Kathleen Dunlap

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 August 2014 10:54 )
Read more: Field Trip Reports 2014