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: croakie@comcast.net; 803-215-1594

FIELD TRIPS

March 17, FRIDAY! - Phinizy Swamp Nature Park – Meet at the Phinizy parking lot at 9am. We will walk through the wetland cells looking for waterfowl, bitterns and other wintering birds. Trip should last until 1pm, Lois leads.

March 25, SaturdayLover’s Lane - Meet at the Popeye’s at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 9am to carpool. We will look for wintering birds along the road; White-crowned Sparrows can often be found in this location in winter. Trip should end by 1, Lois leads.

April 1, SaturdayWings and Things. Meet at Silver Bluff Kathwood Ponds at 9am, bring a lunch if you would like to stay into the afternoon. We may go as late as 4pm. This is a naturalist’s field trip, we will look at birds but our focus will be everywhere. Dragonflies, butterflies, plants, other insects, reptiles, etc. We often get 18 or more species each of butterflies and dragonflies on this trip, including possibly a Yucca Giant-skipper. Lois leads.

April 8Phinizy Swamp Nature Park – meet at 8am in the parking lot at Phinizy. We will look for early migrants and lingering winter residents. This is a walking field trip. Trip should be over by 1pm. Lois leads.

Sunday special!! April 9 - Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park – We are having a special field trip to Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park in Kennesaw, GA. Meet in the visitor center parking lot at 7:30am. Traffic in and around Atlanta can be heavy so my suggestion is driving over on Saturday evening and staying as close as you can to the park. If the parking lot is full you can park across the street. We will walk up the mountain road looking for migrants. This location is one of the best places in Georgia for spring and fall migrants. It is also one of the best places for the rare Cerulean Warbler. We will be a little early for the main migration event but Cerulean is an early migrant and we have a possibility of see or hearing one. We may make a stop at another birding hotspot in the area on our way back to Augusta, that will be determined at the time. Lois leads.

April 15, Saturday - Lover's Lane. Meet at Popeye's at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Hwy at 8am. We will look for migrants. Trip should end around noon, Willie leads.

April 29, Saturday - Birdathon.

May 6Migration Count – We will count all of the birds we see or hear in Aiken County. If you do not have a previously assigned territory meet at Silver Bluff Kathwood Ponds at 7:30 to break into groups to bird the property. Bring a bag lunch and meet at the visitor center at 1pm for lunch and a countdown.

May 13, SaturdayCongaree National Park – We will meet at the gas station at exit 1 in North Augusta at 7:30 to drive to Congaree (alternatively, you can meet us at the park at 9am). Bring a lunch and we will walk the boardwalk and possibly other trails at the park. We will head back to North Augusta at approximately 4pm. Lois leads.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

February 25, 2017. Merry Brickyard Ponds

Nine people came out for our trip to Merry Brickyard Ponds. Waterfowl have been scarce this year so we planned to spend some time on the paved road looking for woodland birds. For some reason there were few of them as well. We did have one small flock that included good looks at kinglets. We also had great looks at several hawks including having an Osprey, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawk in the same patch of air at the same time for good comparison looks.

As we drove between the ponds looking at grebes and coots we heard a Bald Eagle. We stopped and there were a pair of adult Bald Eagles in a nearby pine. This is very near where a pair have been all winter. If you are out at Merry this summer keep an eye out, they may nest in the area somewhere eventually. We also saw a couple of Osprey, one carrying a stick and flying high and calling in a possible territory display.

We did see a few ducks including Lesser Scaup, Ruddy and Bufflehead. One pair of Ruddy Ducks were very close for good looks and there was at least one male in near breeding plumage. A few of the Bufflehead were in a smaller pond so good looks were had through scopes. We only had 39 species for the day but it was still a good day to be out. Lois Stacey.

March 4, 2017. Clark’s Hill/Strom Thurmond Lake

This weekend was our annual trip up to the lake to look for big-water birds. We met at the Visitor’s Center parking lot to scope above the dam for loons and ducks. There were no ducks but there were some loons about halfway across and groups of Bonaparte’s Gulls diving and feeding around them. None were very close though. We left there to go below dam as this is usually where we find large groups of gulls. They were releasing water through the dam, but we had no gulls at all down there. There was a group of Double-crested Cormorants and Turkey Vultures around the dam and an Osprey carrying sticks to one of the nearby transmission towers.

We also watched a fisherman land a 7+ pound Striper! We drove down to the boat ramp and walked up the road. There were Cedar Waxwings in one tree and a big group of American Goldfinches in another eating the new flower buds. Eastern Bluebirds were flying around, the males in their breeding plumage showing off for the females. Along the road there were a few woodland birds including Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Chickadees and lots of Common Grackles. We also got good looks at Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers.

We left there and went to West Dam park but there were only a few Pied-billed Grebes on the water. We did get good looks at Pine Warbler and Brown-headed Nuthatch though. We only spent a few minutes there and continued on to Cherokee Park in Lincoln County. The new bridge is in place and the old is gone. They did however leave two Osprey towers and there was an Osprey nearby keeping watch. We found our only American Coots here but no ducks. We had one loon far across the water and even further off was what appeared to be a flotilla of 18 Loons and lots of Bonaparte’s Gulls. The water was so low that the channel markers on poles were on islands!

We drove back to the original lot to pick up cars before our last stop and while there a Common Loon came right to the base of the rocks in front of us. We got fantastic looks through binoculars at him, he was actually almost too close for the scopes! There were also a few Bonaparte’s Gulls on the water not too far out for good scope looks.

At Parksville, which is usually our best stop, the water level was horribly low. You could walk out and over what is normally an island and we had very few birds here. Hopefully the water levels will be up next year. Lois Stacey.

March 11, 2017. Night Sounds Pot Luck

We had a small crowd for our first Pot Luck dinner/Night Sounds field trip on Saturday evening. About 17 people came out bringing good food and lots of conversation. The weather was nice enough that we sat at the picnic tables outside to listen for birds while we ate. There was not a lot of activity to start but eventually the birds started to move around. There wasn’t anything surprising, just the usual feeder birds at Silver Bluff.

After dinner, and near sunset, we carpooled and drove down the road to the Sparrow Field to listed for evening birds. We were hoping to see and/or hear American Woodcock and Barred Owl here. Unfortunately the Woodcock were a bust but a few Barred Owls gave us a short vocal show calling to each other and doing the ‘monkey’ calls.

About 45 minutes after sunset, at full dark, we drove on to our next stop. We stopped along Silver Bluff Road just before Kathwood Road and heard Spring Peepers calling in the nearby field. We drove around to the cabin and along the way we also heard another Barred Owl, Leopard Frogs and some of us heard the Bald Eagles calling. The cabin was pretty quiet so we drove back to the visitor’s center to spend our last few minutes trying for Screech Owls. We didn’t get them either, but some distant Coyotes were heard. We had a good time, some great socializing and enjoyed a mild early-spring evening. Lois Stacey.

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