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Black Belt Field Trip: Payne Lake Recreation Area

Belted kingfisher, male

March 25 , 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Pre-registration is required by 12 p.m. CST on Friday, March 24th.

Participants must complete the mandatory online waiver. Please do not request registration for others when submitting your request.

Payne Lake is a mixed hardwood-pine forest, with a cattail swamp and rolling hills. The lake is part of the Oakmulgee Division of the Talladega National Forest, better known to birders as the place to find red-cockaded woodpeckers. 

The mature forest on both sides of the road is home to many birds year-round—blue jays, brown thrashers, Carolina wrens, Carolina chickadees, and thrushes. The trees on both sides of the lake shelter red-headed woodpeckers. The lake to the north attracts waterfowl in colder months, belted kingfishers and bald eagles all year, and osprey in the warmer months. Eastern phoebes and chipping sparrows are found in the picnic area.

The hardwood section of the park hosts wintering feeding flocks in the cooler months. There are often wood ducks here. Brown-headed nuthatches and pine warblers are common to fairly common in the area. We will be doing most of our birding along the roads near our vehicles.

The details: Meetup is at 7 a.m. at the McDonald’s on US 31 in Hoover, located at 1731 Montgomery Highway across from the Galleria. We will reconvene around 8:15 a.m. in the parking lot at the entrance to the park, 581 Co Rd 71, Moundville, AL 35474 or 32.8805655 -87.446861. Please note: There is a $2 day use fee per vehicle.

As always, remember to bring plenty of water and snacks, a full tank of gas, insect repellent, rain gear, sunblock, and seasonally appropriate attire. In the event of inclement weather, the trip may be cancelled. You may contact the trip leaders the morning of the event.

Registration: To register, click on the button above. If you’re new to our online system and don’t yet have a username and password, simply click the “X” on the pop up and fill out the basic form. If you do have a login, please use it as this helps us tremendously on our end! You should receive an automated email upon registering.

Accessibility: This trip is considered accessible as we will be doing most of our birding near the car as we drive through the area. Note that the terrain can be difficult for low-clearance vehicles.

Questions about accessibility? Email us for more information about how we can meet your needs.

The food: Plan to bring a picnic lunch to eat at one of the park’s picnic areas.

The birds: Eastern phoebes, chipping sparrows, belted kingfishers, bald eagles, brown-headed nuthatches, and pine warblers, as well as many others, are all possible on this trip.

Trip leaders: Matt Hunter (205-460-9546) and Paul Franklin (205-542-7647) will lead this trip. Please contact them on the day of the field trip only.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Through more than seventy-five years of conservation work in one of our nation’s most ecologically rich states, Alabama Audubon has seen firsthand how diversity strengthens natural communities. This same principle applies to human communities, which is why our organization is committed to providing equitable and inclusive opportunities for all Alabamians to learn about and enjoy wild birds, their habitats, and the natural world. One of the best ways to support that belief is by valuing and actively seeking to strengthen diversity among our staff, our board, and our membership. To that end, Alabama Audubon welcomes everyone to participate in our work, and strives to make our programs, classes, and events welcome, inclusive, and accessible to all.