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

September 6, Saturday - Yuchi WMA. Meet at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park parking lot at 7am to carpool to this Burke County WMA. This will be a naturalist's trip where we look at birds, bugs, plants and anything else we can find. Post breeding birds and early migrants should be around. Trip ends about 3pm, bring lunch. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

September 13, Saturday - Crackerneck WMA - This WMA along the Savannah River and Three Runs Creek is on SRS and only open to the public a few days a year. It is an excellent location for birding. Meet at Crackerneck at 8am. Directions: On the Old Jackson Highwayin Jackson go past the post office and then at the ball field, turn right and drive until you see a sign pointing to the left where the road turns dirt. Turn here to reach the area. We should be done around noon. Anne Waters, Calvin Zippler and Lois Stacey lead.

September 20, Saturday - Lover's Lane. Meet at the Popeye's at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. We will look for post-breeding birds and early migrants. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead. Trip ends around noon.

September 27, Saturday - Phinizy Swamp Nature Park Migration Walk. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey will help lead a Phinizy Swamp field trip to look for migrants at the park. Meet in the parking lot at 8am. This is a Phinizy Swamp trip and there will be a charge for non-park members. Trip ends about noon.

October 4, Saturday - Fall Migration Count. We will meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff Audubon Center at 7:30 to form teams if you do not already have an assigned area. We will count every bird we see and turn it in to the Carolina Bird Club for the archives. We will eat a bag lunch at 1pm at the Silver Bluff Education Building so bring your lunch. Some will continue into the afternoon.

October 11, Saturday - Aiken State Park. Meet at 9am at the Pay Station at the park. There is a $2 fee to enter the park. We will look for fall migrants as well as late butterflies and dragonflies. This can be a very good place for migrants. Bring lunch, we may go into the afternoon. Anne and Lois lead.

October 18, Saturday - Phinizy Swamp Nature Park - Meet in the parking lot at 8am to look for late migrants. We will finish about noon. Anne and Lois lead.

October 25, Saturday - Silver Bluff Audubon Center - Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff Audubon Center at 8am. We will walk around the ponds to see what is there and if time allows may venture to other areas. Anne and Lois lead.

November 8, Saturday- Dilane Plantation WMA - This is our annual sparrow trip! Meet at Phinizy parking lot to carpool at 7am, it takes about an hour to get to Dilane. We will drive along WMA roads looking for birds. Sparrows will be the main focus but we often see a large number of Red-headed Woodpeckers and other birds. This is a beautiful area. Bring lunch, we will finish in the afternoon. Anne and Lois lead. PLEASE MAKE NOTE: This is an active WMA and hunters may be present. Please take proper precautions and wear bright colors, preferable orange.

November 15, Saturday - Lover's Lane. Meet at the Popeye's at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. We will look for winter residents and waterfowl. Anne and Lois lead.

November 22, Saturday - Merry Brickyard Ponds. - Meet at the Popeye's at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 9am to carpool. There is a $4 fee to enter the brick ponds. We will look for waterfowl which should have started to arrive. Trip will end about noon. Lois and Anne lead.

December 13, Saturday - Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Meet in the parking lot at 9am. We will take trucks and drive around the park looking for waterfowl, rails and bitterns as well as other birds. Trip should end about noon. Anne and Lois lead.

December 20, Saturday - Augusta Christmas Bird Count. If you do not have a previously assigned area meet at the Popeye's at Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 7:30. If at all possible, please contact Anne Waters ahead of time to let her know you would like to participate. This allows her to set up teams and limit the number of people who have to meet up at the Popeye's. She may be reached at 706 793 2788.

December 24, Wednesday- Aiken Christmas Bird Count. The Aiken Christmas Bird Count will be held on Christmas Eve as usual. Please contact Calvin Zippler if you would like to participate. He may be reached at 803 295 7460.

January 24, Saturday - Savannah and Tybee Island. This is just for advanced notice, details will be made available closer to time. We will meet at one of the two locations at 9am and bird both the beach at Tybee and the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. This will be an all day trip and we will eat lunch at a local restaurant. Put it on your calendar, it is always a good trip!

January 31, Saturday - Phinizy Center Waterfowl Trip - Anne and Lois will lead a driving trip for Phinizy Center at the park. Meet at 9am in the parking lot. Phinizy Center charges a fee for non-members.

Anne Waters and Lois Stacey will lead most trips. You may contact them for more information on the trips.

Anne Waters can be contacted at: 706-793-2788.

Lois Stacey can be contacted at: croakie@comcast.net; 803-215-1594

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

Augusta-Aiken Audubon NABA Butterfly Count, July 19, 2014

Butterflies have been hard to find for the first part of the summer in Augusta (and much of the southeast). Between that, cloudy skies and intermittent rain we didn't hold out much hope for a good count this year.

The Augusta group started the day at Phinizy Swamp NP under cloudy, cool conditions but as we walked through a grassy area we were surprised by lots of little dark skippers flying up and away from us. In that little field we had over 20 Ocola Skippers which is a very good number for us.

While we were under 100% cloud cover all day it did brighten up considerably and when it did the butterflies started to fly! We had one group in Augusta (Phinizy, Lover's Lane, Foster's Lane and the Boral road into Merry); one group at Silver Bluff Audubon Center and one group roaming other local parts of Aiken County (Red Cliff Plantation, Gum Swamp Road, etc).

Between the three groups we managed to spot 34/35 species of butterflies for the day (one group had definite White Checkered-skippers, the other group had unknown White/Common Checkered-skippers).

That's not bad considering the conditions. Looking forward to next year's count. Lois Stacey.

Wood Storks abd Swallow-tailed Kites, July 26, 2014

We had a huge turnout for the Storks and Kites field trip. 19 people showed up at Silver Bluff for the storks portion of the trip. We had a total of 88 Wood Storks as well as several other species of waders and three species of shorebirds. One of the Wood Storks was banded but we were unable to identify the numbers on the band (hopefully some of our photographers were able to get a pic of it).

Most of the group continued to the intersection of Hwy 125 and Millet Drive in Allendale County to look for Swallow-tailed Kites. We met other birders from around the state at the site and the kites were right at the edge of the field when we arrived.

There were at least 66 Swallow-tailed Kites in the area and some were very close. The highlight was an immature bird still begging for food and being fed by at least one adult. The youngster perched in a tree just feet from us for wonderful views and photo opportunities!

This turned out to be a wonderful field trip. Make plans to come with us next year! Lois Stacey.

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, August 16, 2014

18 people came on the truck tour of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. We started the day totally fogged in but it lifted by 9 or so and we ended up with a beautiful bu t hot trip.

One of the first birds we saw was a Tricolored Heron which was one of our target birds. We only saw the one all day. These birds show up in late summer during post-breeding dispersal.

We drove around to the clarification pond where we had a Spotted Sandpiper and some Alligators and then around the back cells. As we came around the ponds toward this area four Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew around and around giving us wonderful looks as the sun broke through the fog.

The back ponds didn't have much in them but we saw some Green Herons on the Distribution Canal fence as well as White Ibis and Cattle Egrets. Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, Little Blue Herons and more Cattle Egrets were in th e Equalization Pond. We ended the day with 37 species.

For some of us the highlight was two Harriers that passed low over us (USMC AV-8B Harrier jets). I've never seen them here before and several people got great photos of them. Come out and see what we find on our next trip!

Lois Stacey

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