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: birdercroakie@gmail.com; 803-215-1594

FIELD TRIPS

July 29, Saturday - Wood Storks and more. We will meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff Audubon Center at 4pm. We will walk around the ponds looking for feeding Wood Storks, egrets and herons and shorebirds around the ponds. Field trip will end by sundown.

August 12, Saturday- Lover's Lane. Meet at the Popeye's at Gordon Hwy and Walton Way at 8am. We will carpool to Lover's Lane to look for post breeding birds. Field trip should end by noon.

August 19, Saturday - Phinizy Waders. Join us for Phinizy Swamp Nature Park's summer waders field trip. Meet at the parking lot at Phinizy at 8am. We will drive around the park looking for post-breeding disposal birds. We often get Tri-colored Heron during this trip and we never know what else might show up. This is a Phinizy Swamp trip and there is usually a small charge for non-members of Phinizy.

September 9, Saturday - Crackerneck. Meet at the sign in area at Crackerneck WMA (directions on our Birding Sites page) at 8am. We will drive along the powerline and possibly other areas looking for birds and bugs. Field trip should end by 1pm.

September 15, FRIDAY - Aiken Gopher Tortoise HP near Windsor. Meet at 9am on the at the Long Cane Rd parking area. This is a small parking area on Long Cane Rd near the intersection of Centerwood Rd. The approximate gps coordinates are 33.488456, -81.439512. Directions are from Highway 78 in Windsor turn onto Spring Branch Rd which will become Windsor Rd. Take Windsor to Centerwood Rd and turn right. Just past Spring Branch Baptist Church turn left onto Long Cane Rd. The parking area will be on the left.

NOTE: This is a change from the previously scheduled field trip to the YUCHI WMA in Burke county.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FIELD TRIPS

May 27, 2017 Crackerneck WMA

What a gorgeous Memorial Day Saturday! Six of us came out to Crackerneck WMA in Aiken County for a birds and butterflies trip. Part of our focus for this weekend was to count butterflies for the North American Butterfly Association Memorial Day Count. We did really well too! We stopped at the first food plot which is planted with corn this year, and along the edge we had 11 Checkered White butterflies which are not often seen in this area. They seem to be having an irruption year.

At that stop we also had good looks at a wonderful male Summer Tanager. Bluebirds were everywhere on the property too. At one point there was a Yellow-breasted Chat sitting in the top of a tree but about the time everyone got where they could see it a Great-crested Flycatcher flew in and chased it off, taking its perch.

Further along the road we got good looks at Northern Parula and Prothonotary Warbler and heard an Ovenbird. Unusual for us, we had no Anhingas at Skinface Pond, in fact it was pretty quiet in that area. We headed to one of my favorite parts of the property, the road along Three Runs Creek with Pine woodland on the other side. We usually get good birds here, but as we entered the area the cars were covered with scores of Deer Flies so we put the windows up and tried to drive out of them. They were very persisitent, but when we got to higher ground they finally went away.

As we entered the afternoon the birds got more and more quiet, but almost to the exit we heard another Ovenbird and it came out for great looks and then wandered around on the ground for a while. We stopped at a patch of Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed, on the way out and saw a Black Tiger Swallowtail butterfly as well as a Black Swallowtail. We had one gorgeous Coral Hairstreak, which I have most often found on this plant.

For the count we had 23 species of butterflies, not bad! We also had 48 species of birds for the day. Lois Stacey.

June 2, 2017 Lover's Lane, Levee

Four of us spent a lovely morning having birding adventures on Lover's Lane/Augusta Levee. We are fully into breeding season now so birds are busy feeding babies and are not singing as much but we had some really good interactions with some of these busy parents. We had 39 species today which isn't bad for this time of year.

We started the day at Popeye's and watched a very irate Eastern Kingbird attacking a Fish Crow. Every time that crow came through the parking lot to get to the dumpsters the kingbird would come out and attack it. At one point they were claw to claw. It was awesome to watch just feet over our heads.

We drove over to Lover's Lane and had the Loggerhead Shrike on territory but we've still only seen one, I don't know if they are breeding there or not. At the Y we heard an Orchard Oriole singing. Over the course of the day we saw several, and heard more, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, several carrying food. One was near the area where we had a pair last year. Further down the road we heard a baby bird and had another cuckoo coming out of the area the sound seemed to be coming from but we were unable to find a nest.

As we walked down Lover's Lane we had a very, very unconcerned Prothonotary Warbler working the roadside bushes, apparently looking for food, possibly for babies. The bird continued in the open for 10 or more minutes just feet from us before heading deeper into the brush.

Near the swamp we kept hearing a strange call in the bushes and finally we saw them...one very young fledgling White-eyed Vireo calling and begging ts parent who also flew into the bush and was interacting with the baby.

It was getting hot and the birds were settling down but we did have one kettle flying over that contained two Turkey Vultures, two Black Vultures, Two Anhingas and a Mississippi Kite all soaring high overhead. Quite a mixed group!

Come out with us next time and see what kind of adventures we can have. Lois Stacey.

June 24, 2017. Dilane WMA "Wings and Things."

To paraphrase a famous movie..."The woods were alive with the sound of bird song..." Three of us went on the summer Dilane WMA trip today and we had a great day! Dilane is managed for Bobwhite Quail and they are doing an awesome job. By managing for quail they are also providing habitat for many other species including Field Sparrows and we had plenty of both today! We heard multiple birds at several stops, some quite close to us but we never did see any.

There were also Field Sparrows everywhere we went and we did finally get to see some of them. We also saw a probable young Bachman's Sparrow. At one point Mark saw a bird soaring over the trees and disappear only to come over the trees a little further down to provide fantastic looks at a Swallow-tailed Kite!

Eastern Kingbirds, Summer Tanagers, Towhees and the other regular denizens of Pine Woodlands were everywhere. We even had a pair of Common Ground-doves that just did not want to get out of the road, and when they finally did get out of the road perched nicely in a little dead tree. We had a total for the trip of 55 species, not bad at all for June!

This was a wings-and-things trip and so we looked at a few other things. We had a number of summer butterflies including the first Gulf Fritillaries I've had this year but numbers of species and individuals were not nearly as high as I have had out there before. We also had a few species of dragonflies including two new county records (Spot-winged Glider and Roseate Skimmer).

Come out with us and see what we can find next time.

Lois Stacey North Augusta, SC

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