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

August 15, SaturdayPhinizy Driving Trip 8am. We will take vehicles and drive around Phinizy looking for post-breeding birds. Many waders that are not normally found here will come up in late summer. This can be a great way to see the swamp. Anne and Lois lead.

August 29, Saturday - Silver Bluff Audubon Center. Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at 8am. We will walk around the ponds looking for waders and shorebirds. Lois Stacey and Anne Waters lead.

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

Silver Bluff Audubon Center July 11, 2015

Whew!! We had a field trip this morning to Silver Bluff and it was already hot when we started at 8am. We had 11 people show up on this hot, hot day!!

We started the morning by walking part way around the ponds. We had some waders (there were a LOT of Cattle Egrets in a freshly cut hay field on the road in) and several Green Herons and Little Blue Herons. There was no mud yet at the ponds but we did have a Spotted Sandpiper way out of a pipe in the water. Along the way we had some woodland birds calling. We heard more birds than we saw today, even the birds were staying in the shade!

After walking for about an hour or so we went back to the cars and drove down to the education building. We checked out the feeders and the butterfly garden and surrounding trees. Several people were watching the butterflies while others were watching the birds. We actually saw more birds here than at the ponds!

We then got back in our cars and drove down the road and into a field looking for buntings and such as well as more butterflies. By now it was REALLY hot and we didn't see much and heard a lot fewer birds than earlier in the morning.

We drove back to the education building to get cars and called it a day. Everyone wanted to get back in the air conditioning at that point!

For such a hot day we still managed to see and/or hear 45 species of birds. We also had multiple dragonfly and butterfly species. They didn't seem to mind the heat nearly as much as we did.

Come out on our next trip and see what we find.

Lois Stacey

Butterfly Count July 18, 2015

We held our first NABA Butterfly Count in 2004. We had 28 species and 96 individuals and had 6 participants. This year we had a great count of 42 species (our record is 44), had 865 individual butterflies which blew the old high count of 524 out of the water and had our highest participation with 20 individuals help spot and identify butterflies!

Thanks to everyone who participated! We had good numbers of some butterflies that we have trouble getting most years like Red Admiral and Black Swallowtail; the Hackberry and Tawny Emperors made a good showing but we had several species that we normally have many of that had a poor showing this year such as Carolina Satyr and Gulf Fritillary.

Here is the list, compiled by Anne Waters and Paul Koehler?.

Zebra Swallowtail 27,
Black Sw. 33,
E. Tiger Sw. 18,
Spicebush Sw. 6,
Palamedes Sw. 1,
Cloudless Sulphur 14,
Sleepy Orange 110,
Gray Hairstreak 3,
Am. Snout 24,
Gulf Fritillary 18,
Variegated Fr. 26,
Silvery Checkerspot 1,
Pearl Crescent 32,
Question Mark 3,
E. Comma 2,
Am. Lady 3,
Red Admiral 27,
Com. Buckeye 83,
Red-spotted Purple 23,
Viceroy 12,
Hackberry Emperor 120,
Tawny Em. 14,
Carolina Satyr 1,
Silver-spotted Skipper 2,
Hoary Edge 5,
S. Cloudywing 9,
N. Cloudywing. 3,
Horace's Duskywing 10,
Zarucco Du. 13,
Wild Indigo Du. 1,
White Checkered-Sk. 12,
Common/White Checkered-Skipper. 15,
Clouded Skipper 5,
Least Sk. 120,
Southern Skipperling 1,
Fiery Skipper 35,
Whirlabout 4,
Little Glassywing 5,
Sachem. 1,
Broad-winged Sk. 2,
Dun Sk. 2,
Ocola Sk. 9.
Unidentified: Duskywings 10.

Total 42 species, 865 individuals.

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

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