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.

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

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

FIELD TRIPS

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 during the winter usually begin at 9 a.m. and end around noon; warmer weather trips generally begin at 8 a.m. and end around 11 a.m. If you have questions about a field trip, please contact the listed field trip leader.

November 5, SaturdayAugusta Canal Find Your Park Event. The Augusta Canal Authority will be holding a Find Your Park event celebrating their 20th anniversary. The event will be held at 1905 Pearl Ave, Augusta. We will have a booth there and Lois Stacey will lead bird walks along the canal in the afternoon. Come out and visit our booth and check out the activities.

November 19, Saturday Merry 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 will go to an alternate location. There is a $4 charge to enter the property. Trip should end by noon. Lois leads.

December 3, SaturdayPhinizy Swamp Nature Park. Meet at the parking lot at Phinizy at 9am. We will walk the 2.5 mile loop along the constructed wetlands and back through the woods along the creek looking for wintering birds. Trip should end by 1pm. Lois leads.

December 10, SaturdayMerry Brickyard Ponds. Meet at 9am at Popeye’s at the corner of Gordon Highway and Walton Way to carpool. There is a $4 fee to get into the ponds. We will travel as far as we can based on road conditions looking for wintering waterfowl and other winter birds. Trip should end by 1pm.

December 17, SaturdayAugusta Christmas Bird Count. Please note that there will not be a morning meet up this year! If you would like to participate please contact Lois (email preferred) by December 10 to let her know. If you have a particular area you would like to bird she will do everything she can to put you on the team doing that area. Maps, instructions and count forms will be emailed to the team leaders before count day.

Contact Lois Stacey at croakie@comcast.net or 803-215-1594.

December 24, Saturday Aiken CBC – Contact Calvin Zippler about participation at 803-508-0692 or zipplerc@gmail.com

January 7, Saturday, 2017 - Merry Brickyard Ponds. Meet at 9am at Popeye’s at the corner of Gordon Highway and Walton Way to carpool. There is a $4 fee to get into the ponds. We will travel as far as we can based on road conditions looking for wintering waterfowl and other winter birds. Trip should end by 1pm.

January 14, Saturday - Savannah NWR/Tybee Island. – We will meet in the beach access parking lot behind the lighthouse on Tybee Island at 8:30 am. We will bird Tybee north beach for a few hours and then we will stop at The Flying Fish for lunch. After lunch we will bird the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at the Savannah NWR. We will probably be here until close to sunset. Our target birds at Tybee will be Purple Sandpiper and gulls, we will look for waterfowl and other birds at Savannah. A few years ago we had Eurasian Wigeon at Savannah, you never know what we will find there. Lois leads.

January 21, SaturdayPhinizy Waterfowl Trip. – This is a Phinizy Center trip and they may charge a small fee. Meet at the Phinizy parking lot at 9am to carpool. We will drive around the ponds looking for wintering waterfowl, bitterns and rails, and raptors. This is a great way to get into the back of the park to see what birds might be in the farthest ponds. Trip should end around noon. Lois leads.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

October 15, 2016. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park Fall Migration Walk

Today's field trip was a Phinizy Center sponsored trip and it was a great one. There were about 15 people on the trip and we started the day with an American Redstart and a little further along we had a late Yellow-breasted Chat skulking in the bushes.

As we walked around we had a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting in a tree and swallows overhead. When we got into the Constructed Wetlands we hit the jackpot! In one cell we had two Black-crowned Night Herons sitting right out in the open not too far out. Beyond them we had a flock of White Ibis in various plumages as well as a Glossy Ibis with them!

There was a huge flock of 700 Tree Swallows in the next cell over. As we were standing there 4 Wilson's Snipe flew over and when they landed some Least Sandpipers flew over a bit. The shorebirds and the swallows kept flying up like they were being scared by something but we never saw anything fly through. We walked around the cells to try and get a better look at the swallow flock when they all took off and disappeared again and there it was! A small, dark falcon came flying through the flock and over head. Merlin!

Walking the rest of the wetlands and down into the woods was fairly uneventful but along Butler Creek we hit a small flock of migrants that included a Magnolia Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and several Yellow-billed Cuckoos plus lots of other little birds moving through the trees that were not identified.

It was a wonderful day with 52 species, our largest species count in several months. Come out with us next weekend and see what we find then.

Lois Stacey

October 22, Saturday –Augusta Canal

There were 6 of us out to greet the first really chilly morning of the fall. We met in the parking lot behind Eisenhower Park and the very first bird we saw was a Loggerhead Shrike who nicely sat in a small tree just feet from the lot. He flew to some posts and then across the road to another tree and back and forth all the while posing for us.

As we headed toward the canal we had some Palm Warblers and the first Song Sparrow of the fall in the field. Most of the walk along the canal was quiet but we did have a few small flocks. Along the tow path itself we had woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Titmice and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. There were Canada Geese out on the river as well as several Mallards. While we were looking at the river a large flock of Double-crested Cormorants flew over and with them was a flock of Northern Pintails! Another small flock of pintails flew by a minute or two later. Start checking the regular spots, they're HERE!

We walked to the Clearing and here in the pines and other trees there were lots of birds. We had the first Yellow-rumped Warblers for the fall (migration is over!) as well as a number of immature Cedar Waxwings. Brown-headed Nuthatches and Pine Warblers were there as well. We walked the small nature trail from the Clearing and right near the beginning we had 'sparrow workshop' as some of the group worked through the sparrows that they were seeing and hearing. The bushes were hiding White-throated Sparrows and as we were working on them a small flock of other birds came through. A Golden-crowned Kinglet, another fall first, showed himself well and while we were picking through the chickadees and titmice a Cape May Warbler popped up briefly. He's a little late!

A little further along the trail was blocked so we came back and as we went through the clearing we took another look at the birds filling the trees. Still a lot of Pine Warblers and Eastern Bluebirds, but suddenly Dale asked 'is that a Brown Creeper'? Why YES! She and I saw the bird but several birds flew from the general area before the others got on it and we never were able to refind the bird. We did play the call a few times and thought we heard an answer but the bird didn't show again.

The day turned out beautiful yet again and we had 44 species including some really good one. Come join us on our next trip to see what we can find!

By the way, we did have one uncountable species...Mark found a Mallard decoy tangled up in a tree about 20' above the ground. I guess the water got pretty high down there at some point!

October 29, Saturday –Lovers Lane

There were nine of us for our trip to Lover’s Lane on a gorgeous fall morning. We started at Popeye’s with flocks of blackbirds flying over and a small group of Northern Pintails too!

On Lover’s Lane the trip started on a sad note as there was a Little Blue Heron on the side of the road with a broken wing. Some of the group were going to try and catch him but he walked off into the swamp. We walked around the area a bit and saw or heard several sparrow species as well as Yellow-rumped Warblers. Several Northern Flickers were calling and flying around.

On down the road the wires were covered in Mourning Doves and Rock Pigeons and we had a good chance to compare the sizes of the two. You don’t realize how small a Mourning Dove is until you see one beside a Pigeon! Down the road a little further just past Farmer Thompson’s Rd we heard a Greater Yellowlegs but never did see it. There were Yellow-rumps in the trees and White-throated Sparrows in the bushes. We had a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets too.

At one point I think we heard a Winter Wren, but we never got a look to confirm it. We had a quick look at one of the White-eyed Vireos we’d been hearing though. We stopped at the gate to the Silo Field and while scanning for birds we saw a beautiful male Kestrel. He sat in a tree and we put the scope on him. The sun was perfect and he just shone.

While at that stop, a House Wren popped up and gave everyone good looks. Along the top of the levee we had one tree that was full of Virginia Creeper berries and was also full of Robins and other birds. Among them was a Black and White Warbler! A few Gray Catbirds and a Red-bellied Woodpecker were also taking advantage of the tree and the berries.

While we were standing there a flock of Black Vultures came up on the right, and on the left a smaller flock of Turkey Vultures and below them was a soaring Northern Harrier. On our way out there were some Turkey Vultures on the side of the road and with them was a Red-tailed Hawk. He flew as soon as we pulled up but he didn’t leave the area. I don’t know if he was after the Turkey Vulture’s meal (roadkilled Possum that we had seen on the way in) or what. He eventually flew across the pond and perched in a Pine Tree.

We ended the day with a total of 54 species between the two locations. Lois Stacey

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