Summer Field Trips ~ Kites, Wood Storks and More!
Autaugaville and Prattville
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 7 a.m.
Lakeland Farms and Greensboro area
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 7 a.m.
Once again Birmingham Audubon is offering two summer field trips in search of kites, storks and scissor-tailed flycatchers. All three species are regular late summer visitors to the Tombigbee and Alabama River systems in the upper coastal plain of Alabama. If you have never witnessed the spectacle of Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites feeding on the wing, then you are missing one of the most spectacular aerial shows on earth. Their acrobatic maneuvers while catching insects in flight is truly spectacular.
And speaking of eating, another bonus on these outings is the food, Chef Lee's in Autaugaville and the Pie Lab in Greensboro – or perhaps the Faunsdale Bar and Grill in Faunsdale may be our destinations for lunch.
Hopefully, we will also see wood storks on these outings; their numbers fluctuate from year to year but hopefully we'll have at least some to view – particularly on the Lakeland Farms-Greensboro trip. Wood storks have to be one of the homeliest creatures the good Lord ever made, but in the air their striking black and white forms are beautiful sights indeed. You won't want to miss these field trips so mark your calendars now and be prepared to brave the summer heat!
Here are the details of both trips:
Saturday, July 26, 2014 trip: We will head to the Prattville/Autaugaville area as we have in previous years. Kites are wide ranging species, but based on our past success in finding them on previous trips I feel confident that we'll observe them on this trip at some point. As a bonus, the areas east of Autaugaville have yielded sporadic sightings of painted buntings and lark sparrows in the past.
Our departure point is the McDonalds Restaurant on US 31 in Hoover located at 1731 Montgomery Highway (US 31) across from the Galleria. Plan to depart at 7 a.m. and caravan to our destination from there. We will have lunch at Chef Lee's in Autaugaville to take a break from the heat.
After lunch for those who wish to continue their summer adventure, we'll drive to the south side of the Alabama River where we will check a few sites that have yielded kites in the past. The picturesque "ghost town" at Robinson's Switch Road will be worth a short visit as well, so bring your cameras!
If the necessary arrangements can be made, we'll visit a heron rookery in Pine Level, south of Montgomery off US Hwy 231, at the end of the day. We'll have dinner at Red's Little School House Restaurant in Grady at 5:30, and then depart for the rookery from there. If you participate in this optional side trip expect a very long day in the field as we will be at the rookery until sunset. The return trip to Birmingham is about a two-hour drive.
Saturday, August 2nd trip: The ever-popular Galleria McDonalds, located at 1731S Montgomery Highway (US 31) across from the Galleria, will serve as our departure point for this trip as well. Plan to leave at 7 a.m. again. We will caravan west on Interstate 59/20 to exit #97 and head south on Alabama Hwy 5 to Centerville/Brent where we'll make a rest stop before continuing to Lakeland Farms and the catfish ponds south of Greensboro. We will have lunch either at the Faunsdale Bar and Grill in Faunsdale or the Pie Lab in Greensboro depending on which arrangements can be made in advance for a group our size. A stop at Perry Lakes Park to watch herons and egrets returning to their roost at day's end is a likely bet too.
Remember, these trips will be daylong affairs so plan accordingly and bring plenty of drinks and snacks in addition to a full tank of gas, insect repellent, rain gear, and appropriate summer attire.
Trip Leader for both of these trips: Greg Harber, 251-2133 or Greg's email
Your fearless trip leader for these summer trips has been known to arrange additional trips on short notice, so please remember to monitor the Birmingham Audubon website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and the BASbirding Yahoo page for up-to-date summer trip plans!