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West Blocton Coke Ovens Park

Easily surveyed in a couple of hours, Coke Ovens Park is a worthwhile stop near the Cahaba National Wildlife Reserve, the Bibb Glades, and Living River. In addition to customary woodland canopy birds and open county species such as Eastern Kingbirds and Bluebirds, the major attraction is the small stream that parallels the park’s primary N-S road; which provides opportunities to see Swainson’s Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers up close.

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Payne Lake Recreation Area Oakmulgee Div. Talladega National Forest

Payne Lake is a productive site for woodland and riparian birds in all but the dead of summer. Open, mature trees near the lake are excellent for riparian songbirds. The pinewoods slopes along the road to the north have Bobwhites and turkeys. Look for Bald Eagles around the lake, and Swainson’s Warblers, Acadian Flycatchers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and cuckoos along the nature trail to the extreme north.

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Rocky Branch Park

There are several waterfront parks in the vicinity of Tuscaloosa. Rocky Branch is the northernmost in a cluster of parks on Holt Lake. Comprised of steep forested slopes leading to the deep waters, it is best birded for songbirds in spring and fall migration, and for wintering birds in the colder months.

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University of Alabama Arboretum

The single best location in Tuscaloosa for songbirds, the arboretum is a “must-see” for birders. Best in spring and fall migration, it is also a valuable resource for wintering birds. Easily accessed and compact enough to cover in less than half a day, this is the spot to find warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, and sparrows on all but the hottest days of summer.

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Walker County Fishing Lake

A delightful birding experience awaits at Walker County Lake. Tree Swallows are abundant here – many nesting pairs are present, along with numerous Purple Martins. Breeding Yellow Warblers have been identified here, and many additional songbird species are present from April through October. The park should prove to be a productive site for spring and fall migrants, as well as for long-legged waders in late spring and summer.

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Backbone Boat Ramp

Backbone Boat Launch sits the banks of a creek which flows into Lake Demopolis and across from a flooded cypress slough. This small site may be easily birded in less than an hour. Prothonotary Warblers, Redstarts, Northern Parulas, and Yellow-throated Warblers are conspicuous; watch for Anhingas, Purple Gallinules, and Common Moorhens. You may see Painted Buntings here, and expect Wood Ducks, with other waders and waterfowl present in season. In late summer, Wood Storks and Swallow-tailed Kites are possibilities.

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Jennings Ferry

Jennings Ferry is a pleasant island of hospitality on the banks of the Black Warrior River. Mature trees ringing the parking areas are good for songbirds from fall through spring, and there is a well-maintained nature trail loop through the southern end of the reservation. Look for swallows over the river in the warmer months, and waders around the impounded lake to the south.

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Lake Harris

Lake Harris sits at the end of a long, winding dirt road. The early second-growth habitat along Lake Harris Road is far more productive for birds than is the lake itself. Expect to see bluebirds, Bobwhites, turkeys, towhees, goldfinches, Chats, Prairie Warblers, Yellowthroats, Field and Chipping sparrows, and more. The lake could produce long-legged waders, some shorebirds and swallows, and a few wintering waterfowl.

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Lake Lurleen State Park

A large, well-visited park with staff, Lake Lurleen features a huge deep-water lake, extensive parking areas, and picnic areas under massive pines. Look for migrants in the forested areas in spring and fall, hundreds of swallows – mostly Cliff – and easy-to-find songbirds such as Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and (from spring through fall) Northern Parulas, Pine and Yellow-throated warblers, kingbirds, and Orchard Orioles. Look for gulls and waterfowl in winter, and a few waders throughout the year.

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Lake Nicol

Lake Nicol is an attractive, easily accessible, well-maintained, and popular wooded park on a substantial lake. It draws many local visitors, so the best birding is achieved on weekdays, early or late in the day, and days when traffic should be less than peak. Look for pine-woods birds all year, a few waders and shorebirds, migrant songbirds in spring and fall, and a few ducks and geese in winter.

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Lamar County Fishing Lake

A 68-acre lake surrounded by open pine woods, Lamar County Fishing Lake offers birding opportunities around the year. Both woodland species and long-legged waders can usually be found, as well as breeding Barn and Rough-winged swallows and other summer breeders. Spring and fall may offer good opportunities for unusual migrants, and some migratory waterfowl may visit in the winter.

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Living River

This still-under-construction site overlooks the Cahaba River and incorporates a small lake. The area should prove to be an excellent location for migrant songbirds, and an great selection of local breeding species. The property boasts an unusually high density of Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

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