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 12, Saturday - Crackerneck WMA – Meet at Crackerneck at 8am This is a Wildlife Management Area that is only open to non-hunters twice a year. We will drive around the area to see what we can find. The area includes woods, fields, ponds and streams and the diversity can make for a good variety of birds. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

September 19, Saturday. - Aiken State Natural Area Meet at the parking area just past the pay station on the loop road at 9am. We will explore around the ponds and roads to see what early migrants might be coming through as well as what post-breeding birds are around. Bring a lunch or snacks as we usually go into the early afternoon. Lois Stacey and Anne Waters lead.

September 26, Saturday. - Lover’s Lane. - Meet at Popeye’s at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 8am. We will carpool to Lover’s Lane looking for migrants. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

October 3, Saturday. - Aiken County Migration Count – Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at 7:30 unless you have already arranged a territory. We will split into teams to explore and count every bird we can find. Bring lunch and meet at the Education Building at 1pm for lunch and count down. If you want you can then continue into the afternoon.

October 17, Saturday.A Phinizy Swamp Event. Meet at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park at 8am for their annual fall migration walk. We will walk across the boardwalk and down the trails looking for migrants. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead. Phinizy may charge for this event.

October 24, Saturday.Jackson Boatlanding Road – Meet at Silver Bluff at the Kathwood Ponds at 8am. We will carpool to Jackson Boatlanding Road looking for migrants. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

November 7, Saturday.Lover’s Lane – Meet at the Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am. We will carpool to Lover’s Lane looking for migrants. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

November 14, Saturday.Dilane Plantation WMA – Meet at Phinizy at 8am. We will carpool to this Wildlife Management Area in Burke County. There we will drive the WMA roads looking for birds in the fields and woods. This location is managed for Northern Bobwhite and the fields are a good place for sparrows. Bring a lunch and we will sit overlooking a wet area to eat and see what appear s over the fields then continue into the afternoon. NOTE: This is an active Wildlife Management Are a and there may be hunters present. Please wear appropriate clothing. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

November 21, Saturday. – Brickyard Ponds – Meet at the Popeye’s at the corner of Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 9am. We will carpool to Merry and bird the area looking for arriving ducks and other birds. There is a $4 fee to enter the property. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

Storks and Kites August 1, 2015

Fifteen people came out for the annual Storks and Kites field trip. We started the day at Silver Bluff Audubon Center checking the Kathwood Ponds for Wood Storks. The ponds are drawn down every summer to provide feeding opportunities for dispersing Wood Storks.

There were not any storks in the three front ponds but we did have a few in the trees along and behind the railroad tracks.

While we were standing at our cars getting ready for the walk to the ponds, the best birds of the day flew overhead; TWO Roseate Spoonbills!! They were located in the trees with the storks and seen through the scope while we were at the ponds.

There were a few other waders around including a couple of Little Blue Herons and a Snowy Egret. Small birds were moving in the trees and there were a couple of Spotted and Least Sandpipers around.

Because the Spoonbills were seen to drop down into the pond beyond the tracks we headed around to the cabin road for a quick stop before heading to the kite fields. We found a good number of Great Egrets in the back pond as well as at least 6 White Ibis and the two Spoonbills. They were very wary and flew away before anyone got good looks at them in the water but all got good looks at the birds in flight.

We headed out to Allendale to check out the Millet Road Kite Fields. As we arrived both Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites started popping up above the rise in the field. We had approximately 10 of each species with a few Swallow-tailed Kites coming over the cars on our side of the field.

We decided to head to the kite field at Revolutionary Trail in Allendale to see what might be there. As we drove up the road two kites flew across the cars. When we arrived the farmer was mowing the field and there were 185 Cattle Egrets feeding on the insects the mower scared up.

There were at least 8 Swallow-tailed Kites down the road a little way including at least one immature bird who sat up in a tree calling for food. The adults indulged it and would swoop in to give it food. The bird was not in the open like the one last year but it was still a neat sight.

There were two other birds however who sat quietly in the open branches of the same tree and allowed for wonderful pictures.

We had a good trip and totaled 51 species for the day, that's not a bad total for August 1!! Come and join us for a future trip and see what shows up.

Lois Stacey

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park August 15, 2015

13 people showed up for our summer driving trip at Phinizy Swamp NP today. This is our 'post breeding dispersal' field trip to see what waders have wandered into our area.

We started the day at the Rain Garden Pond where a couple of Wood Storks were feeding. There were a few Mallards as well as an immature Black-crowned Night Heron. We piled back into the trucks and headed out.

Our next stop was actually one of the best of the day. At the T junction we had several Green Herons in the open, an Anhinga, several waders; Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret and Cattle Egrets.

There were Common Gallinules feeding and right after we stopped two King Rails called very close. While scoping the other side of the pond we found a Least Bittern near the edge of the grass. He eventually walked a little more into the open for nice scope views and then hopped down.

Two of us got a quick glance at a King Rail crossing the berm ahead of us just a few seconds later. As we drove up the berm a little further an adult Yellow-crowned Night Heron flew by followed shortly by an immature one!

We drove around to the back ponds and through the woods and back to the Three Ton Bridge. Along the way we flushed a Cooper's Hawk and saw baby Pied-billed Grebes and Common Gallinules. We even had one American Coot!

We walked the Three Ton Bridge looking for King Rails with no luck and then drove around the Equalization Pond. There were more waders here including White Ibis as well as one Wood Duck and a Ring-necked Duck that has stayed the summer.

We ended the day with 45 species, not bad for mid-August! Come and join us next time to see what we can find.

Lois Stacey

Silver Bluff Audubon Center, August 20, 2015

Eleven people came out today for our field trip to the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff. We walked around the ponds looking for shorebirds, waders and small birds in the woods. The small birds were nearly non-existent.

There were a LOT of Killdeer in the ponds and a few Least, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers but there were very few other birds. We did have a few Wood Storks and Egrets flying around.

As we walked between the ponds we saw a Roseate Spoonbill flying over! It was still early when we got around the ponds and we had a couple of Spoonbills in the trees on the other side of the tracks so we carpooled over there.

We had multiple Wood Ducks, over 30 Great Egrets, a few Little Blues, and some Snowy Egrets; more White Ibis than we had seen from the other side and now there were 4 Roseate Spoonbills sitting pretty-as-you-please in a cypress for all to see.

We drove to the cabin to turn around and back to the parking area and almost there we saw a bunch of movement at the back of the clear cut area. We picked up 6 species for the day here! We had Orchard Oriole, Summer Tanager, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird and some that got away at this one stop!

We ended up with 45 species for a cool, cloudy, beautiful late August day. Come with us and see what we find next time! Lois Stacey.

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