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Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan is a classic migrant trap, and a birding paradise when adverse weather during spring migration may cause spectacular “fallouts” of colorful migrants. Many vagrant species find their way to this favorite birding spot, which can equal Dauphin Island in excitement. In fall, hundreds of migrating hawks can be seen moving west over the Fort. Winter produces many waterbirds and sparrows. Summer is the slowest season, but can be good for terns. There are restrooms at the ferry landing and at the museum, plus a snack bar at the ferry landing. Bird checklists are available at the museum.

GPS: N30.22951 W-88.00827

Fort Morgan Stables

Just after the entrance kiosk at the eastern sea wall, park and bird the wooded area on the right known as the Stables [0.2]. This is the best spot in the park for passerine migrants, and should be explored thoroughly. The Hummer/Bird Study Group maintains their banding station in the Stables area each April and October and welcomes visitors.

GPS: N30.23018 W-88.01197

Fort Morgan  Ferry Landing

From the Stables, continue west to the ferry landing parking lot [0.1], where an admission fee is paid to enter the park. The ferry to Dauphin Island runs every hour and a half starting at 8:45 a.m. Check the adjacent lawn and Live Oaks just west of the parking lot for migrants. Gulls, terns and wading birds populate the riprap along the edge of the shoreline, along with several species of shorebirds.

GPS: N30.23164 W-88.01497

Fort Morgan Middle Ground

The brush and scrub opposite the landing are known as the Middle Ground, another good migrant spot. Fields and lawns to the west, between the ferry landing and the museum, are excellent for open-country birds.

GPS: N30.23082 W-88.01485

Fort Morgan The Fort

From the ferry landing parking lot, continue west to the Fort parking lot [0.5]. Check the thick vegetation around the Fort for a variety of migrants.

Completed in 1834, Fort Morgan was active during four wars the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II. The fort is most famous for its role in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay. Union Admiral David Farragut damned the torpedoes and went full speed ahead to win the battle. The massive fort contains more than 40 million bricks and pays tribute to the skilled masons, many of whom were enslaved African Americans. Learn more about Fort Morgan: http://preserveala.org/fortmorgan.aspx

GPS: N30.22916 W-88.02168

Fort Morgan Marsh

The marsh and field area south of the Fort can be observed from the sea wall on the south side. Please take care around the homes here. The marsh can produce a variety of species, from wading birds, wintering Wrens and the occasional rarity. Walk to Mobile Point to the south, either along the beach or between the dunes and the marsh. This is a good seawatching spot, and the point itself is excellent for gulls and terns.

DIRECTIONS: If following directions provided in the Coastal Birding Trail booklet, Fort Morgan is located at the western extremity of the peninsula and is an important stopover for spring and fall neotropical migrants.

GPS: N30.22712 W-88.02380

Nearby Sites

Bon Secour NWR – Pine Beach Trail

At the Pine Beach trailhead stands an interpretive kiosk with trail maps and bird lists. This is a two-mile trail (each way) southeastward to the beach by way of Little Lagoon and Gator Lake. The hike is an enjoyable walk through a variety of habitats including oak mottes, sand pine scrub, fresh and saltwater marshes, dunes and beaches. The Pine Beach Trail will generally have the best birding on the refuge during migration and can also provide excellent winter birding opportunities.

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Magnolia Springs Landfill

Magnolia Springs Landfill is a county landfill–ninety-nine percent of the gulls utilizing the landfill in winter are comprised of Laughing, Ring-billed, and Herring Gulls, but rarities like Franklin’s, Thayer’s, Iceland, Lesser Black-backed, and Glaucous Gulls are all additional possibilities. American Pipits (winter), Fish Crows and both vultures are also regular. In January 2009, a Snow Bunting was seen, accounting for the first state record.

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Historic Blakeley State Park

Historic Blakeley State Park offers opportunities to tour a preserved Civil War Battlefield, visit the site of one of the oldest towns in the state, and learn about the plants and animals that inhabit Mobile Bay and the Mobile/Tensaw River Delta, along with observing wading birds and waterfowl in the Tensaw and woodland species in the mixed hardwood/pine forest.

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