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October Field Trip
October 1, 2016, 7:00 am–12:00 pm
Chipping Sparrow by Debbie McKenzie. October Field Trip: The southbound bird migration will be at full tilt in early October, and the multitude of habitats within Oak Mountain State Park will provide us with numerous opportunities to search for resident and migrant songbirds alike. Our first stop will be in the vicinity of the farm and stables inside the entrance, where we’ll find open habitat specialists in the pastures, with various woodland species in the adjacent deciduous woods.
The road leading to the vernal pool is a favorite destination of mine, and we’ll make a stop here to check what birds may be found. A small creek and the open understory surrounding the pool is often appealing to migrant thrushes and woodpeckers, and the secondary growth bordering the path beyond the pool can sometimes attract warblers and gnatcatchers. The fishing lakes, at the north end of the park, will be our final destination. Here we often find herons, pine warblers and chipping sparrows, and the thickets at the water’s edge have been known to harbor a migrant or two. The low dense stands of growth on the banks of the dike can host sparrows, too, so we’ll be sure to stop there as we cross the embankment.
Although this is a half-day trip, for those who wish to pack a lunch and a chair, we can watch for migrating hawks for an hour or two from atop Double Oak Mountain on the road to Peavine Falls. The weather will play a key factor in our ability to see migrating hawks, and we may not see any at all – but – nothing ventured, nothing gained. I can guarantee it will be the most relaxing birding you’ve ever done! Read more about OMSP on the Alabama Birding Trails website, here: http://alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/oak-mountain-state-park/
Plans: Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the ranger station outside the main park entrance, located off I-65, Exit #246. We will carpool and caravan from there to several destinations within the park. Be advised that park admission is $5 for adults, and $2 for seniors and children between the ages of 4-11. Children 3 and under are free. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and a lunch (and chair) if you wish to stay for the hawk watching. Trip leader: Greg Harber, 205-807-8055.