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

August 27, SaturdayLover’s Lane. Meet at Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am and we will carpool to look for post breeding birds and early migrants. Lois leads.

September 10, SaturdayAiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve – Meet at the parking area on Oak Ridge Club Road at 8 am. (directions: Take I-20 to exit #18 and go south on SC #19 for 9.1 kilometers (5.7 miles) into downtown Aiken, SC. Turn left onto US #78 and go southeast 21.6 km. (13.4 mi.) to the community of Windsor. Turn left onto Spring Branch Road (#212) and go east 8.7 km. (5.4 mi.). Turn right onto Oak Ridge Club Road and look for a parking area on the right – there is a kiosk.) This will be an all walking trip. We may find Bachman’s Sparrows and should see Gopher Tortoise burrows (and maybe a tortoise too). This is Sandhills habitat and is likely to be hot and dry. Bring water and sun protection. Depending on time we may drive over to the other side and investigate around a pond and stream. Trip will end by noon. Lois leads.

September 17, SaturdayCrackerneck Wings and Things – Meet at the sign in at Crackerneck WMA at 8 am. (directions are on our webpage in the Local Birding Sites section). We will drive the area looking for birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Bring lunch or a snack as we will go into the afternoon. Trip should end by 4pm. Lois Leads.

September 24, SaturdayAiken State Park – For National Public Lands Day we will meet at the parking lot on the right just past the pay station (near the swimming pond) at 9am. In a change from past field trips we will walk the 2.2 mile Jungle Trail looking for fall migrants. This area may be buggy so bring spray, water and wear long sleeves and pants. Depending on time we may drive to a few other areas and check them out. Trip should end by 2pm. Lois leads.

October 1, SaturdayAiken County Migration Count – we will count all of the birds we can find in Aiken County. If you have a preassigned route feel free to start at whatever time you like. If you don’t have a route meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff at 7:30am. If you live in Aiken County and would like to count your feeder or yard please contact Lois at 803-215-1594 (or on Facebook). We will meet at the visitor’s center at 1pm for a BYO lunch.

October 15, SaturdayPhinizy Swamp Nature Park fall migration walk. This is a Phinizy Swamp trip and they may charge a small fee. We will walk the property looking for fall migrants.

October 22, SaturdayAugusta Canal – Meet at the park at Eisenhower Drive at 8am and we will walk part of the Canal Trail looking for migrants and arriving winter birds. Trip should end by noon. Lois leads.

October 29, SaturdayLover’s Lane – Meet at Popeye’s at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Hwy at 8am to carpool. We will look for migrants and arriving winter residents. Trip should end by noon. Lois leads.

November 5, SaturdayAugusta Canal Authority event – don’t know details at this point. This is not an Augusta-Aiken Audubon event but I will be leading trips along the canal. I’ll update you when I get more info. Lois.

November 19, SaturdayMerry Ponds – Meet at Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 9am (NOTE TIME CHANGE). We will carpool and see what ducks have started to arrive (weather and roads willing). If roads are impassable we make go to an alternate location. There is a $4 charge to enter the property. Trip should end by noon. Lois leads.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

July 16, 2016. North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Butterfly Count

Eight intrepid people attended our Butterfly Count. We had near 100 degree temps by afternoon but we still managed to have a good year.

We had 3 teams; one at Silver Bluff, one in Augusta starting at Phinizy and one checking out a few places in and around Jackson and Beech Island. Over the course of about 5 hours the three teams combined to find a total of 40 species of butterflies and a total of 502 individuals. That is not a bad year! We missed a few species that we usually get annually such as Tawny Emperor and Silvery Checkerspot, but we did pick up one new count and Aiken County record - a Checkered White! We all had a good time although no one went into the late afternoon this year, it was just too hot!

Next year's count is tentatively scheduled for July 15. We can use all of the eyes we can get to help spot butterflies so consider coming out!

July 30, 2016, Storks and Kites.

Five people arrived this (hot, muggy) morning for the Storks portion of the Storks and Kites field trip. We walked out to pond 2 which is where the birds were hanging out. There were 5 Wood Storks in the pond and we saw one more later when they all flew to the trees to roost. There were also a good number of White Ibis and Little Blue Herons and Killdeer in the ponds.

A Snowy Egret and an unknown peep (sandpiper) were also out there. One of the Little Blues had what we all thought initially was a large-for-it fish but when he turned around what he had was a very large Bullfrog tadpole! It hadn't grown legs yet but looked like it was close to ready.

We walked a little farther and the next time we looked the tad was gone so we don't know if he ate it or lost it. On our way around by the trees we had a small flock of birds that included a female Scarlet Tanager! Fall migration is starting.

Two of us continued on to Allendale to look for Swallow-tailed Kites. Our first stop was at the Millet Rd fields. There were several dozen Mississippi (MIKI) and 10 Swallow-tailed Kites (STKI) there but they were far out in the field. We decided to check out the Barton Rd field and then come back. After a short session of 'where are we' we managed to find the fields.

The kites were much closer although there weren't as many. We had fantastic looks at both MIKI and 3 STKI including low flights right over our heads. We went back to Millet but things were fairly quiet and the kites were still mostly in the middle of the field. Our STKI total for the day was 13 birds. Lois Stacey

August 13, 2016. Phinizy Wanderers field trip at Phinizy Swamp

Thirteen people came out this morning for the field trip. Before we even got over the bridge we saw two Red-shouldered Hawks in the snags. We piled into vehicles and drove out into the wetlands. Along the way we found flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds as well as quite a few Pied-billed Grebes.

There were Northern Parulas and Indigo Buntings in the trees along the way. As we came past the Clarification Pond we saw a pair of Spotted Sandpipers dueling it out and chasing each other around the pond.

We drove through the wetlands looking at the waders and got to the Equalization Pond. We saw Great, Cattle and Snowy Egrets as well as Great Blue, Little Blue and Green Herons as well as White Ibis. In the pond we saw a Tricolored Heron as it flew about and out and at the other end there was an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron. In addition, everyone got great looks at a foraging Yellow Warbler. In all we saw and heard 37 species. Lois Stacey

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