FIELD TRIP SCHEDULE

Augusta-Aiken Audubon's field trips are open at no charge to all chapter members and the public. We encourage everyone to come out and join us! Some tips to make the trips more comfortable: bring a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended as is having raingear nearby.

Morning trips in fall and in spring usually begin at 8 a.m. and end around noon. Winter trips usually begin at 9:00 am and end around noon. Summer filed trips during the hot weather usually begin at 8 am and end around 11 am. Check this webpage and the newsletter for field trips that begin at different times.

For many of our fieldtrips we meet at Popeye's Resturant at the corner of Walton Way and the Gordon Highway (Hwy 1) in downtown Augusta.

Another site for field trips is the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Directions to the park can be found on the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy website at www.phinizyswamp.org .

The Brick Pond Park in North Augusta is another favorite fieldtrip venue.

From Augusta take the 13th street bridge to North Augusta. 13th Street becomes Georgia Avenue. Turn left at the light just beond the City of North Augusta Municipal Buildiing. Immediately turn left on Center Drive. Center Drive ends at Railroad Avenue. Turn left. Just before the Bridge, turn left on Brick Pond Park Road which leads to the parking lot.

From I-20 take the Matintown Road Exit. Drive South East on Martintown Road and turn right on Georgia Avenue. At the Cty of North Augusta Municipal Building turn right and turn left on Center Drive. From Center Drive follow the directions above.

Directions to other field trip venues can be found on the Local Birding Sites
page on this website.

If you have questions concerning a field trip, please contact the listed field trip leader.

Anne Waters can be contacted at: 706 793 2788.

Lois Stacey can be contacted at: croakie@comcast.net; 803-215-1594

February 13, Saturday Great Backyard Bird Count - Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff to bird at 9am. We will walk around the ponds looking for wintering birds in the ponds and woods. Our count will be submitted as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count which runs from Friday through Monday that weekend. Trip should end around noon. Anne and Lois lead.

February 20, Saturday - Lover’s Lane – Meet at 9am at the Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton way to car pool. We will drive Lover’s Lane looking for wintering birds and waterfowl. This can be a great time to see some unusual sparrows including Vesper and White-crowned. Trip will last until about noon. Lois and Anne lead.

February 27, Saturday - Merry Brickyard Ponds – Meet at 9am at Popeye’s at the corner of Gordon Highway and Walton Way to carpool. We will drive the roads (if passable) to see what ducks and other waterfowl we can find. There is a $4 charge to enter the property. Expect the trip to end around noon. Lois and Anne lead.

March 5, Saturday -Clark's Hill Lake. - Meet at the SC Visitor's Center parking lot at 9am to carpool. We will visit many different spots around the lake looking for birds. Bring a snack or light lunch as we may go into the afternoon. Anne and Lois lead.

March 12, Saturday - Crackerneck - Meet at Crackerneck WMA (directions on the Local Birding Sites page of the Chapter website) at 9am to bird the area. This is a state hunting property located on the Savannah River Site and is only open to non-hunting activities a few times a year. We will drive around the property looking for woodland birds. Field trip should end about noon. Anne and Lois lead.

March 19, Saturday - Brickyard Ponds,- Meet at Popeye's at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 9am to carpool. We will drive the roads (conditions permitting) looking for ducks and other waterfowl. Field trip should end around noon. Anne and Lois lead.

March 26, Saturday - Lover's Lane,- Meet at Popeye's at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 9am to carpool. We will look for sparrows and other winter residents. Trip should end around noon. Anne leads.

April 2, Saturday - Silver Bluff Wings and Things, - Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff at 9am. We will walk and carpool the property looking for any and all things nature! Dragonflies and butterflies will be our primary focus but birds, reptiles, bugs and plants (or anything else that catches our fancy) may be examined. Bring a snack or lunch and we will continue into the afternoon. Trip should end by 4 (possibly earlier). Anne and Lois lead.

April 9, Saturday - Lover's Lane,- Meet at Popeye's at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 8am to carpool. We will look for sparrows and other winter residents as well as early migrants. Trip should end around noon. Anne and Lois lead.

April 16, Saturday - Aiken State Park. - Meet at the pay station at 9am. We will drive the loop and then go to Cabin Lake looking for migrants. Trip should end around noon. Anne and Lois lead.

April 22, FRIDAY! - Phinzy Swamp Nature Park, - We are having a special Friday trip because of activities on Saturday. Meet at Phinizy at 8am to carpool to Yuchi WMA to look for migrants. Last year we found a Swainson's Warbler on this trip. Bring lunch or snack as we may go into the afternoon. Anne and Lois lead. NOTE! This is an active hunting area, please dress appropriately.

April 30, Saturday- Birdathon.

May 7, Saturday - Migration Count. - Meet at Silver Bluff Kathwood Ponds at 8am unless you already have a pre-arranged territory.

May 14, Saturday - Crackerneck Wings and Things. - Meet at Crackerneck WMA (directions on the Local Birding Sites Page of the chapter website) at 8am to bird the area. This is a state hunting property located on the Savannah River Site and is only open to non-hunting activities a few times a year. We will drive around the property looking for woodland birds, butterflies, dragonflies and anything else that catches our fancy. Bring a snack or lunch as we will go into the afternoon. Trip should finish by 4. Anne and Lois lead.

May 28, Saturday - Dilane Plantation WMA, - Meet at Phinizy at 8am to carpool to Dilane. We will drive the property looking for summer nesting birds including Northern Bobwhite. Bring a lunch and we will continue into the afternoon. Trip should end by 4pm. Anne and Lois lead. NOTE! This is an active hunting area, please dress appropriately.

June 4, Saturday - Lover's Lane - Meet at Popeye's at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 8am to carpool. We will look for summer residents as well as check out the heron rookery. Trip should end around noon. Anne and Lois lead.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

Christmas Bird Count Reports by Anne Titus Waters

Augusta CBC

The 2015 Augusta Christmas Bird Count, Dec 19, had clear weather for a nice change. We had good participation with 33 people in 12 teams. We counted 13,279 birds of 111 species. This is the 56th year we've done this count. Our species count is low but our lowest count was in 2009 when we only had 105 species. Our highest was in 2001 and 2005 when we had 123 species.

A Common Goldeneye was found. This duck has only been seen on 4 other counts. But we didn't get Redhead or Canvasback ducks we usually get. we also had 31 Pine Siskins which have only been seen on 9 counts. 5 Baltimore Orioles tied our high count for that species. And a Green Heron was unusual having been seen only 5 other years.

An Archelochus (Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird) was seen coming to a feeder. It will need to be captured to ID it for sure. Rail numbers are way down at Phinizy Swamp because they knock down the grasses so only 5 Soras and 2 King Rails were counted.

Other noteworthy birds counted were 6 Bald Eagles, 83 White Ibis, 1 American Bittern, 5 Horned Grebes, 1 Herring Gull in with Ring-billed, 3 Brown Creepers, 1 Marsh Wren, 1 Yellow-throated Warbler and 1 White-crowned Sparrow. Our Eastern Phoebe count of 94 was the highest ever! But our Loggerhead Shrike (1) was our lowest. Plus 99 Rusty Blackbirds was a good count for this wintering species. We had good field coverage this year.

I would like to thank everyone who came out to help. A complete list of birds seen as well as people who participated can be found at the National Audubon Christmas count website.

Aiken CBC

The 2015 Aiken Christmas Bird count, Dec 24, had warm cloudy weather for a nice change from cold and wet. We had good participation of 23 people in 10 teams. We counted 5,268 birds of 79 species. This species count is about average since our highest was 88 in 2006 and the lowest was 70 last year in the rain. But the total birds seen is low. Much of our 15 mile diameter Aiken Count circle includes dirt roads which were impassable so were not counted.

The best sighting was a Northern Pintail seen in an abandoned clay pit pond in the NE part of the count circle. The 2nd most unusual species was the 3 Horned Larks found in a polo field near the barn also in the NE part of the circle.

The S Edisto River was very flooded but it was where we found Brown Creeper, Winter Wren and Blue-headed Vireo. 3 Rusty Blackbirds were found near downtown.

Other unusual birds counted were 2 Turkey, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 32 American Pipits and 8 Fox Sparrows. The 4 Loggerhead Shrikes was a low count for that species and we totally missed Northern Harrier which are usually over the many fields. We also missed some of the wintering warblers such as Black and white and Yellow-throated.

The 90 Dark-eyed Juncos was a high for such a warm December They are known as snowbirds so who can explain that! We had good field coverage even though small dams had failed, roads had eroded and were impassable due to excess rain.

So thanks to everyone who came out on Christmas Eve Day to count birds. A complete list of birds seen as well as people who participated can be seen at the National Audubon Christmas Count website.

January 30, 2016, Savannah NWR and Tybee Island

Fifteen birders met up at the Wildlife Drive at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge for our annual winter trip. It was a beautiful day and started with a Bald Eagle on a tree across the road.

As we started the drive we discovered that most of the inner impoundments were not flooded so there were very few ducks. We did have a good number of Snowy Egrets and got good looks at some Glossy Ibis.

In the outer impoundments we had Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers as well as American Coots and Common Gallinules. A number of Red-tailed Hawks were on the first section as well as Cooper’s Hawk and Northern Harriers.

Our best birds were across from the exit of the drive where we had Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Mottled Duck and Northern Pintail.

We went to lunch and then to Tybee Island. The beach was fairly quiet but we did see one Purple Sandpiper, one Sanderling, some Ruddy Turnstones as well as Laughing, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. A few Northern Gannets were flying when we first got there and we had two Red-throated Loons right off the beach. Dolphins were seen as well.

Our last stop was along Hwy 25 just below the Spoil Site where we had a flock of American Avocets, Dowitchers, both Yellowlegs, some Dunlin and a Willet. Overall it was a good trip. Lois Stacey

February 6, Merry Brickyard Ponds

We had 16 people come along on our trip to Merry Brickyard Ponds on 2/6. The day started great when a Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen flying and landing in a tree across from Popeye’s. We got it in the scope and everyone got good looks. Then it took off and went behind a building and a second later it came back out right on the tail of another bird! They flew behind another building so we don’t know the outcome but not something you see every day!!

There are still not a lot of ducks around. I guess they just aren’t coming south this year. We did have a female Hooded Merganser at our first stop. We don’t see a lot of them.

The roads were not bad so we were able to get all the way back to the Expressway pond this week. There were only a few Gadwall in Ditch Pond and 15 Cormorants. We usually have hundreds!!

In Garden Pond there were American Coots, Ruddy Ducks and a couple of Canada Geese but very little else. Expressway Pond had coots, Ruddy Ducks, Lesser Scaup and a couple of Horned Grebes.

In the pond across the road was a nice flock of Bufflehead that flew around giving us great look s at their beautiful coloration. While we were watching the ducks the first Purple Martins of the year were seen and we watched them for a while. Spring is coming!!

With the lack of ducks we had a little time so we went back to the paved road to look for small birds and we all got a great look at a bright Orange-crowned Warbler. We had over 50 species for the day. Lois Stacey

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