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 field trip leader, Lois Stacey. birdercroakie@gmail.com; 803-215-1594

Trucks are running at Merry – please be aware if you bird Lover’s Lane or Merry Brickyard Ponds that heavy trucks are again running the roads there. These are private roads owned by the Meridian Brick Company and the working trucks have the right of way. Please park well to the side of the road and step to the edge when you see these trucks coming. The trucks are driving more slowly than they used to as well. I believe the new route is from the far end of Lover’s Lane at the turn to the creek all the way back down to the access road just below the dig on Foster’s Road, across Boat Ramp Rd, down Haul Road and the paved road to the plant. On a side note, Meridian is doing a good job of maintaining the roads and they were in the best shape they have been in years on our last field trip.

May 4, SaturdayAiken County Migration Count – If you have a regular territory please do it. If you live in Aiken County and have feeders, please count them. If you want to help and have a favorite place please let Paul Koehler at Silver Bluff know where you are going to count. If you want to help but don’t have a place please meet us at Silver Bluff at 7:30 and we will set you up with a team to count parts of the center.

May 11, Saturday Launch at 8:30, Birding by Boat – Join us at Riverside Park to paddle Betty’s Branch and Little River looking for breeding birds and late migrants. We’ve seen lots of good birds in this area including a Great Blue Heron rookery which should be going full steam. We also got lucky and saw a hummingbird nest last year. If you have your own boat bring it along. If you don’t have a boat you can rent them right on site from Outdoors Augusta, they open at 8am. Please be onsite at 8am to either rent your kayak/canoe or to get your gear together. We will launch at 8:30. We will paddle for several hours up to 6 miles (very little current). Please let me know by phone, email, text or Facebook messenger that you plan to come so I don’t leave anyone behind; birdercroakie@gmail.com or 803-215-1594.

May 25, Saturday - Crackerneck WMA Wings and Things – Meet at the entrance gate at 9am to wander around the property looking for birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Bring a lunch since we might be out into the afternoon.

June 8, SaturdayBrickyard Ponds – we’ll see what is still in the rookery plus what birds might be spending the summer there. Meet at Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Hwy at 8am to carpool. Trip should end around 11. There is a $4 charge to enter the property.

June 15, Saturday Lover’s Lane – Join us to look for summer breeders along Lover’s Lane. Meet at Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Hwy at 8am to carpool. Trip should end around 11.

July 6, Saturday Butterfly Count – We have two teams for our annual butterfly count. One will meet at Silver Bluff Audubon Center at 9am, the other will meet at Phinizy Swamp NP at 9am. July 27, SaturdaySavannah NWR – Meet at the entrance parking lot of the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at 8:30. We will drive the route and possibly walk some of the nearby trails looking for summer nesters and post-breeding dispersal birds including Purple Gallinules. Bring lunch as we’ll be there past noon.

FIELD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Wings and Things- April 6, 2019

Our annual ‘Wings and Things’ field trip was help on April 6 this year and we had a group of new faces attend the event. Unfortunately for a bug trip the skies were cloudy although temps were warm enough. We walked the road a bit and drove through the woods to the Yucca site but without sun we saw very few bug species. We did catch a Blue Corporal along the road and saw a few more flying. Along the creek were clubtails, likely Lancet Clubtails, but none would stay put long enough for identification. In addition we had a couple of fly-by baskettails, likely Common, but none lit and numbers were extremely low. These and Mantled Baskettails should have been flying everywhere in numbers but we only saw 3 or 4. We did get good looks at Sparkling Jewelwings at Hollow Creek though, such pretty bugs.

When we got around to the cabin and along the road to it we hit damselfly pay dirt. We saw and caught Rambur’s, Fragile and Citrine Forktails and Southern Sprites as well as a probable Slender Spreadwing. We also had a few Eastern Pondhawks.

We also looked for butterflies but there weren’t a lot of them either. We had Black and Palamedes Swallowtails flying here and there and had Eastern Tailed-blue and Pearl Crescents along the roads. The best find of the day was a Little Wood Satyr – this is the first time I’ve seen this species at Silver Bluff and it was just added to their list last year.

Of course since this was a naturalist’s field trip since the bugs weren’t cooperating we looked at other things. We heard a lot of birds and worked some on birding by ear. We didn’t have any migrants but we did have lots of Titmice and Cardinals as well as hearing our first Bachman’s Sparrow of the year; Heeerrreee kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty! We also found lots of plants including Ebony Spleenwort, Tephrosia (Goat’s Rue), Dogwood, blooming Simplocos tinctoria (Horse Sugar) and some really pretty Cinnamon Ferns.

Next weekend we will go looking for birds again so come on out and join us.

Pendelton King Park - April 13, 2019.

There were only three of us for our Master’s Week trip to Pendleton King Park. Migration is just starting and we did manage to find a few early arrivals. In the parking lot we saw Brown Thrashers and Yellow-rumped Warblers and then we heard the first Red-eyed Vireos of the year. We eventually had a number of individuals and got decent looks at a few.

As we walked along the trail the Cardinals and Yellow-rumps were everywhere, in song and in the trees. As we got around to the trail along the road it got much quieter and was pretty quiet for the rest of the trip. We did hear an Ovenbird along the dirt trail but we could not get him to come out as he moved through the area. You could follow his progress as his call moved from place to place but we never laid eyes on him. We could not say that for the Black and White Warbler we found. He was very vocal and didn’t like us in his territory and flew back and forth across the trail.

We spent some time talking about birding by ear and had a good time but with the lack of bird activity we ended early with 31 species.

2019 AWBB - Augusta Birdmasters April 27, 2019

What a day! Judy, Dale, Willie and I started the day at 6am at Phinizy. Ruth Mead from Phinizy drove us around on the golf cart ...but we only had a couple of hours to bird before the Earth Day celebration started. We just looped from the parking lot to the Clarification Pond to the Equalization Pond and back but still ran over time a little. The Barred Owls called early and we got the Wood Ducks flying out for the day as well as a Least Bittern calling. There were multiple Yellow Warblers around and as we approached the distribution canal there were Bobolink! Hundreds of them everywhere. While looking at them another Yellow Warbler flew by and right behind him was a Louisiana Waterthrush, the only one of the day. There was little at the Equalization Pond although we did pick up Prothonotary, Yellow-rumped and Cape May Warblers up that way as well as a few additions. There were Spotted Sandpipers all over the place, I've never seen so many at one time in Augusta. The best surprise was as we came back toward the front of the park a group of White Ibis flew up and there were 3 Glossy Ibis with them!

We picked up the very territorial Ruby-throated Hummer as we left the park and drove down to Lock and Dam Park. We picked up a few more migrants down here; Red-eyed Vireo and Blackpoll Warbler specifically. On to Merry Brickyard hoping for lingering ducks but except for the Wood Ducks we did not get any other waterfowl. Would you believe we didn't even see a Canada Goose or Mallard all day?

We drove down Lover's Lane but there wasn't a whole lot that we picked up down there. We came back and got our cars and parked them at Dale's house. We checked her feeder and her Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were at her feeder. Species 91 as we left Augusta.

I was a bit worried at this point. Leaving with fewer than 100 species was not a good sign. I didn't think we'd get anywhere near our goal of 119 with that kind of deficit. We stopped at a little cow pond on Hwy 23 that hasn't had water for two years but it did today; Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers! And as we're standing there a Northern Bobwhite called. We're usually chasing those for this count. We drove around the corner to our Bald Eagle nest but it appears to be in disrepair and not used this year so no Bald Eagle either.

We started the Yuchi part of our count by driving down Brigham Landing Road. Along the way we picked up our usual Loggerhead Shrike and Purple Martins and a Swallow-tailed Kite. Check! In Yuchi proper we started getting the warblers we come down here for as we found Hooded and Kentucky and Ovenbird. Red-headed Woodpeckers put in appearances. We managed to hear one Chat and one Pewee and one Bachman's Sparrow. We went to the gas station looking for the Collared-dove but didn't see it. We drove down the dirt road across the street and while everyone thought we were lost I knew where we were going and tada! Collared-dove. Back down to River Rd looking for Turkeys (none) or anything else we can find as we race the sun. We headed for Vogtle Boatramp and a stop at our usual Wood Thrush spot and he was singing as we pulled up! Down to the boatramp picking up a species here or there and we managed to get the Swainson's Warbler it his usual spot. Nearing sundown we actually had managed to get to 116 species with 3 nocturnals to get. I was shocked, I will not lie. I couldn't believe we made up the deficit we left Augusta with. Ben Hatcher Rd and the Chuck-will's-widow was calling as we pulled up. A little further and the Whip-poor-wills are calling as well. 118. Again . Would the Nighthawk cooperate? We drove to International Paper but there was so much noise we couldn't hear anything. After discussion we decided to drive to downtown Augusta because the rumor is that they are all over down there. We drive onto Green St. with the windows down listening and there it is, PEENT! 9:30 pm -Species 119, our new record. Another great day in the books and time to go home to sleep for two days. Lois Stacey.

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