Field Trip Schedule

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.

Lois Stacey can be contacted at: birdercroakie@gmail.com; 803-215-1594

May 26, Saturday Crackerneck WMA. This wonderful area is only open to non-hunters on Saturday’s during 3 months a year. We will wander the property looking for summer breeders. Meet at the parking area at the main gate at 8am. We should finish by noon.

June 9, SaturdayLover’s Lane. Meet at the Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. We will drive Lover’s Lane looking for breeding birds. Trip should last until about noon.

June 16, SaturdayAiken Gopher Tortoise HP Wings and Things. Meet at the Long Cane parking area near the intersection of Long Cane Road and Centerwood Rd. We will explore down an old logging road along the stream and the nearby pond. After that we will drive around to the Oakridge Club Rd parking area and walk the trail there. We will be looking for whatever we can find. We will likely go into the afternoon, bring plenty of water and snacks if you want.

July 7, SaturdayAugusta-Aiken NABA Butterfly Count – We will have two teams, one in Augusta and one at Silver Bluff. The teams will meet at 9am; the Augusta team will meet at Phinizy Swamp NP, the Silver Bluff team will meet at the center. The Augusta team will count at Phinizy, Lock and Dam Rd, Lover’s Lane and possibly part of Merry. This team usually goes into the afternoon and we will eat lunch at a nearby restaurant. The Silver Bluff team will count on several areas of the center including the Sparrow Field and is usually done by noon.

July 21, SaturdayMerry Exploratory – We will meet at Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 8am. No one ever birds Merry Ponds in the summer but we are going to explore and see what we can find. Come with me on a mission of rediscovery! Trip will end around noon.

August 4, SaturdayPhinizy Waders – Meet at Phinizy at 9am. We will drive around the park looking for post-breeding dispersal birds. This is the time of year to find Tricolored Herons, Glossy Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills, if we’re lucky. Trip will end around noon.

August 11, SaturdaySilver Bluff Storks and More – meet at the Kathwood Ponds at 8am. We will walk the ponds looking for Wood Storks and shorebirds, and anything else that might have come in. Post-breeding dispersal birds should be around and we never know what we might find. Trip will end by noon.

FIELD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Augusta-Aiken Audubon puts the checklists for all of our field trips into the Augusta-Aiken Audubon account on eBird. As of the end of March we have seen 107 species on field trips just since January 2018. Since we started keeping lists on eBird in December 2013 we have seen 234 species of birds! (Plus, dragonflies, butterflies, mammals, snakes, frogs, turtles, beetles, other bugs, etc., etc., etc.). Lois Stacey.

April 21, 2018. All Women's Birding Bust.

Another year (15!!!), another long, fun, fruitful day. Judy, Dale, Anne and I started at Phinizy Swamp NP yesterday morning at 6am which is a little later than normal. This was a week earlier than normal and I was worried that we might not do well, our goal was to beat our previous high count of 118 species. Phinizy pulled through though! While we did not find the recently reported Common Goldeneye nor the Black-necked Stilt we did still have some really good birds. There were a number of shorebirds; Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral, Least, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers were all there. We heard both King Rail and Sora and the Least Bitterns were calling too. We usually get a single Black-bellied Whistling duck flying around at dawn, this year he flew around and around calling like crazy! Then we saw 4, and then another 3 flying into cell 3. What a great way to start the day.

We drove down Lock and Dam Road and through the park, then went to Lover's Lane. We picked up a few more species there including a Mississippi Kite. From there we went to Merry Ponds, an area we usually don't enter for this count. The roads were dry although there are a few deep ruts, and while we found no ducks we did find an active rookery which included nesting White Ibis! This may be a first for Richmond County, research still pending. We also had a Bald Eagle and a Caspian Tern. You really don't realize how big they are until you see them flying close by.

After hitting Popeye's for House Sparrows, we were off to Yuchi. Along the way we decided to make a quick swing through Anne's neighborhood to try for House Finches and what we found was a small group of warblers including Cape May and American Redstart with a bonus Eurasian Collared-dove. Having the Collared-dove and the Eagle we didn't have to make a few side trips which was good because we were running way behind our normal schedule.

At Yuchi we had to work a bit go get some of the birds that are normally 'give me' birds and even missed a few. We found a Kentucky Warbler at the Vogtle boat ramp and heard a Wood Thrush in the woods along River Road. We got buntings and grosbeaks and Prairie Warblers but Pewees, Acadian Flycatchers and Nighthawks aren't here yet.

Our last scheduled stop was our Chuck-wills-widow stop and just as we pulled up one was singing, so we continued on a few hundred feet and heard Whip-poor-wills. While I had been worried about getting our count, we were now at 118, tied for highest!! Could we pull out one more species? Unfortunately, no. We could not find a Common Nighthawk nor Screech or Great Horned Owls so we end yet another year at 118 species, the fourth time we have reached that total. Will we finally manage to get to 119 next year? Lois Stacey.

April, 28, 2018. Beidler Swamp Boardwalk.

Sic Six people came to the field trip to Beidler Forest this morning on a beautiful day. We started out hearing a lot of birds but not seeing them. We heard Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, Prothonotary Warbler, Gray Catbird and Black-throated Blue Warbler.

The Black-throated finally came in for us to see it. We walked on around the boardwalk looking at some of the other denizens of the swamp, primarily snakes and lizards all while listening to bird song. Finally we got to an area where we were seeing the birds.

We got great looks at many Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parulas, a Black and White Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher, Summer Tanagers and American Redstart.

Beyond the birds though, this is a beautiful swamp especially this time of year and we enjoyed the walk. We were able to identify the bands on two of the Prothonotary Warblers and turned that information in at the visitor center so that they can track who is back. It was a very enjoyable field trip. Come with us next year. Lois Stacey.

May 12, 2018. Wings and Things at Aiken State Park

This was our spring ‘Wings and Things’ field trip and our main focus was dragonflies. Aiken State Park is THE place to ode in spring as there are many Sandhills specialties found there. Our small group walked around the Swimming Pond to start. There were Calico Pennants that had just emerged that morning all around the pond. There were also a number of damselflies mating around the area, and while we were watching one pair ovipositing and flying above the water, still in tandem, a fish jumped out of the water and gulped them down! Not something you see every day. As near as we could tell he got both the male and female in one mouthful. A little further along we found a male Elfin Skimmer. These may be just emerging, we only saw the one individual. These are very tiny dragonflies and hard to see in the grass.

We walked along the pond over the hill and then piled into the car to drive around to the Fishing Pond. There we had several new species including a Double-ringed Pennant, Burgundy Bluets flying around, one passing Banded Pennant and a very cooperative Eastern Pondhawk. Pondhawks were out in numbers at some of the ponds. There were also a good number of Carolina Saddlebags flying around. We heard lots of birds as well; Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler among them. There were three Red-shouldered Hawks soaring above us and on the way back to the car we saw a pair of male Great-crested Flycatchers battling it out on the ground. They finally broke apart and separated to different parts of the pond area. We drove around to a small culvert area that is usually great for damselflies and were not disappointed. We had Ebony Jewelwing and Sparkling Jewelwing perched beside each other for great comparative looks.

We drove over to Cabin Lake which is where we usually find Diminutive and Clearlake Clubtails in numbers. We did eventually find one Clearlake but no Diminutive Clubtails. They were flying a month ago so they may actually be done for the year. However there are pitcher plants along the edge of the lake and they were at peak bloom. Beautiful plants! There were also a few Rose Pagonia orchids blooming in the same area.

We ate lunch at Cabin Lake and then called it a day. The weather was gorgeous and we had a fun time. Lois Stacey.

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