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

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.

January 21, SaturdayPhinizy Waterfowl Trip – This is a Phinizy Center sponsored trip and there may be a small cost. Meet at the Phinizy parking lot at 9am. Join us as we drive around the Phinizy wetlands looking for waterfowl, bitterns, rails and other birds. Trip should end by 1pm. Lois leads.

February 3, FRIDAY Lover’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.

February 11, SaturdayBurke County and Turkey Pond – meet at the Phinizy parking lot at 10am. We will drive out Highway 56 with a stop at the Southern Swiss Dairy pond on our way to Turkey Pond. In the last few years Turkey Pond has played host to hundreds of waterfowl including large rafts of Redhead, Canvasback and Pied-billed Grebes as well as Tundra Swans and Snow Geese. Brewer’s Blackbirds were in the area a few years ago. We may also drive local dirt roads looking for small birds. The trip should last well into the afternoon. Lois leads.

February 18, SaturdayGreat Backyard Bird Count – Silver Bluff Audubon Center Kathwood Ponds. Join us at the Kathwood Ponds at 9am to walk around the ponds, and possibly to the cabin, to look for small birds which we will report for the GBBC. Trip should end by 1pm. Lois leads.

February 25, Saturday - Merry Ponds Meet at the Popeye’s at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 9am. We will carpool to Merry. If the roads are passable we will drive around and check the ponds for waterfowl, if they are not we will bird the paved road looking for wintering birds. There is a $4 charge to enter the property. Lois leads, trip should end by 1pm.

March 4, SaturdayClark’s Hill/Strom Thurmond Lake – Meet at the South Carolina visitor center lower parking lot (overlooking the dam and lake) at 9am. We will drive around to several places looking for wintering waterfowl and gulls. We expect to stop at the SC below dam area, Cherokee park in Lincoln County and Parksville at least. In years past we have had large flocks of Bonaparte’s Gulls, Horned Grebes and breeding plumaged Red-breasted Mergansers. We never know what we may find on this trip. Trip will last into the afternoon so bring a lunch and we will eat along the way. There is a day fee for access to Clark’s Hill lots (I believe it is $5) and a similar fee for Cherokee. Lois leads.

March 11, Saturday Night Sounds Pot Luck – Meet at Silver Bluff Audubon Visitor’s Center at 4pm for a Pot Luck dinner and stay for the Night Sounds walk. Bring your favorite dish (casserole, salad, soup, etc) to share with your friends. After dinner (about 6pm or so) we will walk around the area, and possibly travel down Silver Bluff Road, listening to the sounds of the night. We expect to hear frogs, owls and possibly Woodcocks. Lois and others lead.

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 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.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

December 10, 2016 - Merry Brothers Brick Ponds

A 5 Eagle Day!! 13 people showed up on a chilly but sunny day (that just got warmer, even at 40 degrees!) to see if the cold weather had brought us any waterfowl. We drove to Merry and started checking ponds. We had the usual Cormorants and lots of Anhingas, Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks too. We had 2 Northern Pintails, a couple of Redheads and a few Lesser Scaup plus one Horned Grebe but the highlights of the day were an immature Snow Goose and 5 BALD EAGLES!!

While Bald Eagles are not unusual at Merry in winter, 5 in one day is an astounding total. We had two immatures near the intersections where the Fish Shack used to stand, one in the far back and on the way back out we had two adult birds near the Fish Shack area again in trees that seem to be their territory. We have seen the adults in the same stand before. We also got good looks, and hopefully some pictures, of a small Accipiter that I think was a Sharp-shinned and George thinks was a Cooper's. The best waterfowl of the day was an immature Snow Goose in the big pond called Ditch Pond. Lois Stacey.

January 7, 2017 - Merry Ponds

What a way to kick off another year of birding! After watching the forecast of snow all week we ended up with cold only for the count. We did see very light snow for about 10 minutes but peeks of blue sky were had before the end of the trip. The January Merry trip is fondly known as the coldest trip of the year and this one was true to form.

We didn't spend a lot of time on the paved road but we did stop several times and at one of those stops we had 7 female Purple Finches and 30 Rusty Blackbirds! Cardinals, Chickadees, Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Black and White Warbler were also seen. We passed a duck hunter coming out and there were absolutely no birds in the Expressway Pond and few in Ditch Pond but there were quite a few ducks in Garden Pond, most fairly close to the road. There were Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, two Northern Shovelers and 27 Redhead ducks with half of them within 20' of the road! We had 38 species for the day and had a good time. Lois Stacey.

January 14, 2017 -Savannah/Tybee Island

NIne people came to our annual winter Savannah/Tybee trip on a gorgeous, warm, not-windy day (for a change). We started the day at high tide on Tybee Island and found lots of Black Skimmers on the beach with some Ring-billed Gulls and Royal and Forster's Terns. We watched them for a while and scoped the ocean, which was completely flat at that time, and saw a couple of distant Red-throated Loons. We started to walk toward the jetty to look for Purple Sandpipers and there was a female Red-breasted Merganser, a female Black Scoter and a dozen Bufflehead right around the post at the end, in great light for fantastic looks. A Gannet flew fairly close so that everyone could see it. We had a few Sanderlings fly by but those were the only shorebirds we saw. As the jetty was uncovered we expected Ruddy Turnstones, and hoped for the Purple, but none showed up before we had to leave. We saw a few Laughing Gulls out on the water but no Herring or Black-backed gulls.

We stopped for lunch at The Flying Fish, and while we were eating saw a small bird at the corner. Several people walked over and it was a Loggerhead Shrike!

After lunch we drove the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at Savannah NWR. All of the impoundments have water in them but almost no ducks. We saw a few Northern Shovelers, Blue-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks but that was it. Very few waders were around as well but hawks put in some great performances. We had a Red-tailed Hawk that sat in a small tree right on the edge of the road while traffic went by. We saw a number of Northern Harriers and some fly-by Accipiters (none positively identified). A Red-shouldered Hawk also sat for nice looks but the birds of the day were American Kestrels. We had several males and at the end of the day one of them was on a tree at the edge of the road, then flew ahead of us and perched in another tree. Some people went to try and get pics but he flew right back to his original post, literally right outside my window. The lighting could have been better but I'll take it.

While it was a very quiet day as far as birds go we did manage to see 51 species of birds. Lois Stacey

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