Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail

Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail

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Here's a video overview of my visit to Wood Duck Heritage Preserve in Opelika on the Piedmont Plateau Briding Trail. Worth the time! Here is a video overview of my visit at the Preserve! Thanks so much to all of you who tirelessly maintain the preserve! Opelika Parks & Recreation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQMjjDdsCcM&t=45s]
Trillium at Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve
I scheduled an event Friday morning with you but can’t find it anywhere, did I make a mistake?
#PPBT
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Lowndes County December 2017 male I believe.
Red tailed hawk i think.. Lowndes WMA lands 2018
Great Crested Flycatcher - Montgomery Speedway area... early May 2018
Dr. Mark Woodrey, research ecologist at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, will be the featured speaker for the Alabama Ornithological Society's spring meeting April 20-22 on Dauphin Island. Woodrey also is research coordinator at the NOAA/Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The meeting also will feature several field trips to great birding locations on Dauphin Island and elsewhere in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Dues are modest and new members are welcome. Dauphin Island is one of the best locations in the nation to see warblers and other migrants, as well as as variety of shorebirds. AOS meetings offer great opportunities for birders to hear some of the most knowledgeable speakers in the field, to participate in field trips led by outstanding birders, and to get to know many of the best birders in the state. For details, go to:
2017 Birding Paddle at Fox Creek Birding Trail.
My latest Natural Alabama column describes a recent road trip to South Alabama that found Purple Gallinules, Common Gallinule chicks, Bobolinks and Limpkins. See it at:

Nine counties offer up 34 official birding sites covering over 3.5 million beautiful Alabama acres!

Alabama Historical Commission

The Alabama Historical Commission has been closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus and Covid-19, following the guidelines and recommendations of Governor Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health. As we enter a new stage of response to the ongoing situation, Governor Ivey and public health officials have instituted a phased re-opening strategy. In response, the Alabama Historical Commission will re-open the grounds of select historic sites that have “green spaces” available to the public, including Fort Morgan State Historic Site, Confederate Memorial Park, Old Cahawba, and Fort Toulouse - Fort Jackson Park, effective Friday, May 1, 2020. Standard operating hours will apply.

The gift shops, visitors' centers, and various museums at these sites will remain closed as to ensure the safety of visitors and AHC staff. AHC encourages all visitors to wear protective facial coverings, observe social distancing regulations, and all other recommended safety guidelines.

All in-person programs and events have been cancelled through May 30, as gatherings of 10 or more are not permitted. AHC will continue to evaluate closures and closely monitor the situation.

AHC leadership has been very mindful of the availability of personal protective equipment for the staff and cleaning supplies, which are factored in for the safety of all. The move to re-open select sites was made only after evaluating supply chain options so that these essential items could continually be made available at our sites.

#AHCSites #ThisPlaceMatters #HistoryHappenedHere #Covid19

SITE of the WEEK: Jones Bluff Park, Autauga County

Jones Bluff Park is an extremely productive and diverse area. Everything from gulls to sparrows can be found here, owing in large part to the highly diverse habitats. The trail bordering the Alabama River is a great place to view riparian birds, from Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to Louisiana Waterthrushes, Prothonotary Warblers, Ospreys, Double-crested Cormorants and several species of swallows. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/jones-bluff-park/

Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail's cover photo

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks from yesterday. I'm thinking the brown is the female? Hard to see if there are marks on the face..or wing bars.

BIRD of the WEEK: Snowy Plover
PHOTO: Lew Scharpf

A small plover of beaches and barren ground, the Snowy Plover can be found across North and South America, Eurasia, and Africa. In North America it is restricted to the Gulf and Pacific coasts of the United States, and scattered inland localities from Saskatchewan to California and Texas. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snowy_Plover

My first Rose-breasted Grosbeaks! There were two males, that I saw. Tallapoosa County

SITE of the WEEK: Alligator Creek Nature Trail, Chambers County

Alligator Creek Nature Trail, in 27-acre Alligator Creek Park, traverses a large forested area of mixed hardwood and pine with substantial understory. The trail, 1 mile in length, offers a boardwalk that hovers over swampy, grassy and bog-like areas, giving access to superb birding habitat. Common Yellowthroats and Swamp Sparrows, Pileated Woodpeckers and Great Horned Owls can be found along the trail. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/alligator-creek-nature-trail/

BIRD of the WEEK: Carolina Wren

The Carolina wren is a resident in the eastern half of the United States of America, the extreme south of Ontario, Canada, and the extreme northeast of Mexico. Severe winters restrict the northern limits of their range while favorable weather conditions lead to a northward extension of their breeding range. Their preferred habitat is in dense cover in forests, farm edges and suburban areas. There are seven recognized subspecies across the range of these wrens and they differ slightly in song and appearance. The birds are generally inconspicuous, avoiding the open for extended periods of time. When out in the open, they investigate their surroundings and are rarely stationary. After finding a mate, pairs maintain a territory and stay together for several years. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina_wren

Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail's cover photo

SITE of the WEEK: The Parks of West Point Dam, Chambers County
Hardley Creek Park

The parks are west of the dam on the Alabama side of West Point Lake. Hardley Creek Park is below West Point Dam, on the river. This is a nice stopping area for resting, eating lunch or looking out over the water for Purple Martins, herons, egrets, Osprey and Bald Eagles. Large population of Canada Geese occupy the area. This is a family-oriented park with children’s fishing pond and duck pond. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/west-point-dam/

Had a visit yesterday from the carpet cleaner.....Peterson's Guide says "Magnolia Warbler"....tiny little bird...in Alexander City AL

John James Audubon named this bird while he was in South Carolina. The curious, intelligent Carolina Chickadee looks very much like a Black-capped Chickadee, with a black cap, black bib, gray wings and back, and whitish underside. Carolina Chickadees visit feeders for sunflower seeds, peanut chips, and suet. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Carolina_Chickadee

Confederate Memorial Park

Based on a directive by Governor Ivey and the recommendations of public health officials to implement a plan for social distancing and “shelter in place” order, the Alabama Historical Commission has closed ALL historic sites and green spaces to the public, including Confederate Memorial Park.

The closure update announced on April 3, 2020 encompasses all AHC historic sites and will go into effect on Saturday, April 4 at 5:00 pm. All programs and events have been cancelled through April 30.

AHC will continue to evaluate closures and closely monitor the situation.

SITE of the WEEK: The Parks of West Point Dam, Chambers County; Hardley Creek Park

The Parks of West Point Dam are strategically positioned to offer a variety of locations for enjoying the rich birding opportunities around the dam. Look for loons and other waterfowl in colder months, swallows and Purple Martins in the warmer ones. Bald Eagles and Ospreys nest in the vicinity. This is a spot for rarities, including Great Cormorants. Watch easy-to-see gulls carefully, as numerous unusual gulls can be present along with more common varieties. The parks are west of the dam on the Alabama side of West Point Lake. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/west-point-dam/

nps.gov

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Well, I was just thinking of going there to take photos!
Guess I'll try during the early Summer or next Spring. #PPBT

nps.gov On 27 March 1814, Major General Andrew Jackson ‘s army of 3,300 men attacked Chief Menawa’s 1,000 Red Stick Creek warriors fortified in a horseshoe shaped bend of the Tallapoosa River. Over 800 Red Sticks died that day. The battle ended the Creek War, resulted in a land cession of 23,000,000 acr...

Southeastern Raptor Center

Lanner Falcons are native in Africa and parts of Europe and the Middle East. Unlike Peregrine Falcons who dive down on their prey, Lanner Falcons tend to have a horizonal pursuit.

BIRD of the WEEK: Brown-headed Nuthatch
Photo: Richard Beil

When the squeaky sound of a rubber ducky drifts down out of the canopy in a southern pine forest, be on the lookout for Brown-headed Nuthatches. These tiny blue-gray songbirds climb up, down, and around pine trunks and branches with the deftness of a rock climber. They cling to bark with their strong feet rather than leaning on their tails like a woodpecker. Brown-headed Nuthatches are social birds that travel in noisy family groups. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown-headed_Nuthatch

#PPBT See the Kreher Preserve and other Lee County birding locations here: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/counties/lee/

In response to an updated statewide public health order, KPNC’s Nature Playground will be closed to help stop the spread of Crovid-19. Our trails will remain open for your enjoyment. Nature can be very beneficial during this stressful time. Please respect social distancing if you encounter others. Also a reminder that we do not allow dogs, bikes, smoking or vaping on the property. Kreher Nature Center is open from sunrise to sunset. No admittance after dark.

SITE of the WEEK: Coon Creek Nature Preserve, Tallapoosa County

Located on the banks of the Tallapoosa River, Coon Creek Nature Preserve and Recreation Area offers access to 320 acres of pine-hardwood creek valley that feeds into Yates Lake. A one-mile Overlook Loop Trail and a four-mile Wood Duck Trail are both good for woodland songbirds. The upland portions have Northern Bobwhites, Wild Turkeys, sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, and other woodland birds. Areas bordering the water provide opportunities to see waterfowl, gulls, terns, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/coon-creek-nature-preserve-and-recreation-area/

Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail's cover photo

The Yates Lake event has been postponed. As soon as it is rescheduled, the new information will be posted here. Until then, gather yourselves up and head on over there at any time. It is a beautiful location with a walkway that runs alongside the Tallapoosa River. Wild azaleas and mountain laurel are blooming now, not to mention all the fern species, dogwood and so much more! #PPBT

Had the Grands for a week. We got into the woods on several occasions, with great success! We 'trash walked' at the Sportplex in Alexander City, our little neighborhood road and the Shoreline Trail at Smith Mountain. All the Wild Azaleas are blooming at Smith and the Trillium are all over the Sportplex!

BIRD of the WEEK: Brown Pelicans
PHOTO: Brent Holman

The Brown Pelican is a comically elegant bird with an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body. Squadrons glide above the surf along southern and western coasts, rising and falling in a graceful echo of the waves. They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up. They are fairly common today—an excellent example of a species’ recovery from pesticide pollution that once placed them at the brink of extinction. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Pelican

[03/24/20]   Just saw my first hummer of 2020.....Tallapoosa County.....

[03/23/20]   Just saw (and identified) a Northern Parula. What a pretty, tiny bird!! No photo, though...it was an accidental meeting. #PPBT

SITE of the WEEK: Smith Mountain Historic Fire Trail, Tallapoosa County

A series of footpath-only trails originate from the Smith Mountain parking lot. In addition to the Tower Trail to the historic fire tower, there is the Lakeshore Trail that winds along secluded shorelines of Lake Martin, the rugged Little Smith Mountain Trail, and the Island Hop Trail that connects a series of islands (accessible only during winter low water levels). The trails can also be accessed by boat. The trail difficulty ranges from moderate to difficult. Black and Turkey Vultures are almost always soaring around Smith Mountain. While a common sight in many places, the 90 foot fire lookout tower enables you to see vultures from above, a unique perspective enjoyed by many. Smith Mountain’s old growth mountain longleaf pines host many woodpeckers. Along the shoreline herons are common and migratory waterfowl are frequent visitors in winter. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/smith-mountain-historic-fire-tower/

Here's our first newsletter for 2020. If you have any questions or notice a 'typo', let me know! Send a message or email me at [email protected] #PPBT

Here's the flyer for our 2020 Photo Contest! Share with friends, neighbors, co-workers....oh wait...nobody can go to work......#PPBT

We've gone ahead and scheduled this great event. Right now, we'll keep this date. If our leader decides it is not in our best interest, we will reschedule. Any changes to this date will be posted on this page. Or email [email protected].

BIRD of the WEEK: Blue Jay

This common, large songbird is familiar to many people, with its perky crest; blue, white, and black plumage; and noisy calls. Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue_Jay/

SITE of the WEEK: Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (NMP), Tallapoosa County

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (NMP) commemorates the battle in 1814 between Colonel Andrew Jackson and the Creek Indian nation. The fields, forests, waterways and trails of Horseshoe Bend NMP, bordered by the Tallapoosa River, offer excellent opportunities to observe birds in a variety of habitats.
The bluffs that overlook the river offer stands of River Birches. The nearby understory features multitudes of bird-attracting American Beautyberry bushes. Birds found in good numbers in spring and summer include Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated and Hooded Warblers, and American Redstarts, Wood Thrushes, Summer Tanagers, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/horseshoe-bend-national-military-park/

Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail's cover photo

BIRD of the WEEK: Rock Pigeon

The Rock Pigeon is a large dove common in cities, farmland, and on grain elevators around the world. Wild birds often nest on cliffs, while the feral variety has readily adapted to nest on tall structures including skyscrapers and bridges. They display a wide array of color varieties; most are gray but can be completely black, white, or orangey-brown. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://ebird.org/species/rocpig

SITE of the WEEK: Cherokee Ridge on Lake Martin, Tallapoosa County

Overlook Park on Cherokee Ridge is the starting point for over 11 miles of hiking trails, including one that skirts the shoreline of Lake Martin for approximately 4 miles. Other trails take hikes along high rocky ridges and bluffs, some with vistas of six to eight miles that overlook Kowaliga Bay and Chimney Rock. Bald Eagles are spotted regularly over the lake; Wild Turkeys are abundant in the lush hardwood forests that surround the trail, as are other traditional woodland birds. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/cherokee-ridge/

BIRD of the WEEK: House Sparrow
PHOTO: Cindi Haynes

The House Sparrow is a small bird that has a typical length of 6.3 inches. Females and young birds are colored pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. The house sparrow is strongly associated with human habitation, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. #PPBT

Additional Information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_sparrow

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Videos (show all)

Tallapoosa River at Jay Bird Creek
Tallapoosa River at Horseshoe Bend

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Alexander City, AL
35010
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