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

November 18, SaturdayMerry Brother’s paved road – Meet at Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. We will drive and walk the paved road looking for waterfowl and woodland birds. This can be a very productive route. If time allows (and road conditions are good) we will drive in and look for ducks in some of the other ponds. There is a $4 per person charge to enter the property. Trip will end about noon.

December 2,Saturday Phinizy Swamp NP – Meet in the parking lot at Phinizy at 8am. We will walk around the wetland cells looking for ducks and other winter birds. Besides ducks we may see American Bittern, Northern Harrier and sparrows. Field trip should last until about 12 noon.

December 9, Saturday – Merry Brickyard Ponds Noon Trip – Meet at the Popeyes at Walton Way and Gordon Hwy at 12 noon to carpool. There is a $4 charge to enter the Merry property. We will drive the wetland cells if roads are passable, we will bird the paved road if they are not looking for ducks and geese. Trip should last until 4pm.

December 16, SaturdayAugusta Christmas Bird Count. I will be contacting those who participated last year about assigned areas so look for my email in November. If you did not participate last year but would like to, please contact me at birdercroakie@gmail.com and I will get you onto a territory and connected to the team leader for that territory. There is no morning meeting – teams can set up their own meeting areas and times. If you would like to participate, please try and let me know by December 9. There will be a lunch meet-up and countdown at 1pm at the Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Hwy. Lois Stacey.

December 23, SaturdayAiken Christmas Bird Count – Aiken’s CBC is December 23 this year because Christmas Eve is on a Sunday!! If you would like to participate, please contact Calvin Zippler by December 13, at zipplerc@bellsouth.net or at 803-508-0692. There is no morning meeting for this count, all assignments are organized before count day. We will meet for lunch at 1pm – location to be determined.

January 13, 2018, SaturdayPhinizy Swamp NP – meet in the parking lot at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park at 8am. We will walk around the wetland cells looking for ducks and other winter birds. Besides ducks we may see American Bittern, Northern Harrier and sparrows. Field trip should last until about noon.

January 20, Saturday Savannah NWR – We will meet at 8:30 am in the parking area of the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive. We will drive around the wildlife drive looking for ducks and other winter birds. We may also walk along some of the dikes along the drive. Bring a lunch and we will eat somewhere around the refuge. If we have time, we will walk a bit of the trails across the road from the wildlife drive. THERE IS NO TYBEE VISIT ON THIS TRIP! Trip will last until late afternoon.

January 27, SaturdaySilver Bluff Audubon Center – Lower Silver Bluff Road and the sparrow field. Meet at the education building at 8am and we will carpool. We will bird on our way to the sparrow field and then we will walk the mowed trails looking for birds. If we’re really lucky we may flush an American Woodcock. Hopefully there will be sparrows and other grassland birds as well as woodland birds around the edges. Trip should last until about noon.

FIELD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

October 21-22, 2017. Jekyll Island

Three of us participated in the field trips at Jekyll Island and Gould's Inlet this weekend. We met at the Jekyll Island Visitor Center and spent a few minutes checking out the birds as the tide came in. We had three Red Knots and several Marbled Godwits, the only ones we saw all weekend. We also had good scope looks at Clapper Rails. We left there and went to JIBS, the Jekyll Island Banding Station, on the south end of the island. It was a quiet day for them but they did have a Gray Catbird to band while we were there. One of our participants got to release it while the other was helping on a net run. Then we headed to the beach but with high tide and the changes that the hurricanes have brought there was no beach. We did see several Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks and a Bald Eagle on Racoon Key across the water. We went further down the road and walked out onto the beach and headed south and came across the only flock of birds out there; Sanderlings, Royal, Caspian and Sandwich Terns; Herring, Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls. We spent about 1/2 hour sitting and watching the feeders at the Jekyll Island Campground and had Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Ovenbird, male and female Black-throated Blue Warblers, Painted Buntings and the normal feeder birds. We made a stop at the Amphitheater but couldn't get to the pond easily so we just birded the parking lot and got Hooded Warbler and American Redstart.

We then headed back to the visitor's center for lunch and more bird watching. We had some of the same species as the morning but we also had two Whimbrels on the flats. These are great birds to see. After lunch we drove to Andrews Island Causeway to see what was out there. When we got to the end we could scope across the water to see American White Pelicans and 31 American Avocets. Nearer to us was a flat of shorebirds including several hundred Semipalmated Plovers, a number of peeps (a few identified as Least and Western) and some Black-bellied Plovers. This ended day one of our trips.

Sunday Morning we met at the Coast Guard station on St. Simon's Island but since there were just two vehicles we drove over to 15th street and parked at the Gould's Inlet overlook. This area was drastically changed by the hurricanes. The boardwalk was destroyed and there is now a small dune where there wasn't one before. There is also a lot more sand and sandbars in the inlet according to one local we met. The birds mostly stayed out in the inlet as the tide came in but they were still well within scope range. We had most of the same gulls and terns as the day before but we also had a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Among the Semipalmated Plovers we saw two Piping Plovers too. And we saw Dunlin which we had been looking for all weekend. There were no Reddish Egrets hanging around the inland 'lake' caused by the dunes but we did finally see one way out in the inlet and then as the water rose it flew over us and into the marsh. We spent a couple of hours watching the birds and then headed home (or to more birding, depending).

It was a great weekend with wonderful weather (if a bit windy) and we had 81 species. Lois Stacey.

November 4, 2017. Lover's Lane

Finally we had birds!! Our last several field trips have been rather slow but not today! There was bird activity all over, although there were no rare birds, we did get 49 species for the day.

There were 6 of us on this beautiful day. We had a lot of the winter residents; most of the normal sparrows including good looks at a stunning bright white White-throated Sparrow, they don't usually look like that until spring. We had a House Wren that climbed up a sparse tree for good looks too. There were a number of Red-tailed Hawks on various poles and trees too.

We had Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers and both Kingets too. At one point there were TWO Hermit Thrushes SINGING while a third was doing the Vee call. We got to see that one. It appears that some beavers have built a lodge and dam in the creek.

We also had some good unusual butterflies; Texas Crescent and Zebra Heliconian. At our last stop we flushed a flock of 35 Wood Ducks and some of them stopped just a little further down the creek so that we could scope them. What a great start to fall birding!

Lois Stacey

November 10, 2017. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

What an absolutely AWESOME field trip today!! It was a crisp, sunny day to start at Phinizy and it warmed considerably quickly. 9 of us walked he Phinizy loop looking for birds and it was the birdiest day we've had in months.

There were sparrows all over the floodplain. We heard White-throated Sparrows and saw Song and Swamp Sparrows. Eastern Phoebes were calling and flycatching just about everywhere we went too. There were Mallards, Gadwall and Ring-necked Ducks in the Raingarden Pond. When we arrived, there were a couple of Otters playing there and we saw another one later. In the Raingarden we also watched an Osprey catch a fish and a Belted Kingfisher hovering over the water.

In cell 5 we spotted a couple of Snipe, and at the T junction we had Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebes, Coots and Common Gallinules. We heard King and Sora Rails too.

The Equalization Pond was mostly empty but on the way through the woods we had a small flock including Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Carolina Chickadees, Pine Warblers and a Brown Creeper!! Just past there we heard and saw a Hermit Thrush. At the end of the field trip we had 60 species! That might be the most species we have had all year.

It was a gorgeous day with lots of birds and friends new and old. You should come along next time!

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