| 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 I20 take Martintown Rd. to West Ave. Turn right on West and go to Buena Vista. Turn left on Buena Vista.
Directions to other field trip venues can be
found on the Local Birding Sites
If you have questions concerning a field trip, please contact the listed field trip leader.
Anne Waters can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org; 706-793-2788.
Lois Stacey can be contacted at: email@example.com; 803-215-1594
December 14, Saturday. Waterfowl Watch at Phinizy Swamp. This trip is sponsored by Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Cost $5 which benefits the park. We will ride in trucks out into the wetlands and survey the ducks on the ponds. We will have telescopes so will hopefully get good looks at the waterfowl on the ponds. This will also give us a chance to see ducks and other birds such as waders in the back areas. Meet at the front parking lot at 9am for the trip. Anne Waters, Lois Stacey, Ruth Mead will lead.
December 21, Saturday. Augusta Christmas Bird Count. Meet at Popeyes at 7:30 for this national count of birds. We will divide into teams to cover areas in the 15 mile diameter circle which covers parts of Richmond and Aiken Counties. We will meet back at Popeyes (if they are back open) at 1pm for lunch and a preliminary count and then teams will go out to finish their counts. Come for all day or part of the day. Contact Anne Waters to sign up for this count and to be assigned an area to count.
December 24, WEDNESDAY. Aiken Christmas Bird Count. Calvin Zippler is in charge of this count. Meet at MI Rancho's,124 Dominion Dr. at 1:00 pm for a lunch count down. Everyone should Call (803-642-2264) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Calvin no later than December 18. You will be assigned a team leader and a count area. Please provide Calvin with an email address or phone number so your team leader will be able to contact you and tell you how to get to your count area and where to meet before the count.
January 11, Saturday Merry Ponds for Ducks. Meet at Popeyes at 9 am to carpool. End approximately 12:00-1:00. Cost is $5 per person to bird in Merry Ponds. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.
January 18, Saturday. Lover's Lane. We will look for sparrows and other wintering birds. Meet at Popeyes at 9am to carpool. Ends approximately 12:00. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.
January 25, Saturday. Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. We will meet at 9am at the entrance to the Savanah NWR Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive. We will drive this drive looking for ducks and other birds then will go to Tybee Island where we will eat lunch and then bird on the beach near the lighthouse. We will probably eat dinner in Savannah too and then drive home. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.
February 8, Saturday. Silver Bluff Audubon Sanctuary. Meet at the ponds by the fence at 9am. We will look for ducks and other water birds in the ponds plus small birds in the woods. The Field Trip will end approximately at noon. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.
February 15, Saturday. Field Trip to Phinizy Swamp WMA with ranger Steve Kyles. Meet at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park parking area at 9am and we will carpool into this WMA area. We donít usually visit this area but have a chance to go into it with the ranger so this is a good opportunity. It is off of Doug Bernard Parkway and is a hunt area. Trip will be over at approximately 1:00 pm. Steve Kyles leads.
February 22, Saturday. Clark's Hill. Meet at 9am at the gas station south of the I-20 exit to North Augusta to car pool. We will look for ducks, loons, grebes etc at the reservoir on both the Ga and SC sides of the lake. Scoters are possible. Trip is all day so bring a lunch to eat about noon. Lois Stacey and Anne Waters lead.
March 1, Saturday. Merry Ponds. We will look for ducks and water birds. Meet at Popeyes at 9am to carpool. Trip will end at approximately 12:00-1:00 pm. $5 cost to enter this area. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.
March 15, Saturday. Crackernecck Wildlife Management Area near Jackson South Carolina. Meet at 9am at the ranger check point. On the Old Jackson Highwayin Jackson go past the post office and then at the ball field, turn right and drive until you see a sign pointing to the left where the road turns dirt. Turn here to reach the area. Trip will end about 12:30-1:00 pm. Calvin Zippler, Lois Stacey will lead.
March 22, Saturday. Yuchi Wildlife Management Area in Burke County. Meet at 9am at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park to carpool. It is about 50 min. south. This is an all day trip to look for smaller winter birds, including sparrows so bring a lunch to eat about noon. Trip will be over between 3-4 pm. Lois Stacey leads.
March 29, Saturday. Merry Ponds Birding Bust. We will be intensively birding the road into Merry in the morning then will go eat lunch probably at Wendyís and then return and bird the ponds for ducks, geese and other water birds. Shorebirds should be passing through. This is an attempt to see just how many birds we can come up with from this great area. Of course you can join us for part of it if you wish. We will meet at Popeyes at 9am to carpool. $5 cost to enter the area. Anne Waters and Lois Stacey lead.
We had beautiful fall weather for the 4 people who came on the field trip to Di Lane Plantation south of Waynesboro in Burke County. We tallied 49 species of birds. We heard a Ground Dove at our first stop but never saw him.
The WMA ranger, Steve Kyles, joined us for part of the day and guided us to 30 Acre Pond which is only 18 acres now and is filled with water for the first time in a long time by the summer rains. Here we saw Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers where they nested in boxes. With them were wintering Gadwall, Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks. Three Wood Storks circled overhead but didnít come into the pond.
Steve also showed us 2 smaller ponds with duck boxes. A Black-bellied Whistling Duck nested in one of these this summer for a new record on the WMA. The area is managed for Bobwhite. Mostly they encourage Partridge Pea ( which is a native) to seed in the grassy fields. In one field we had a large flock of about 25 Bobwhite pick up and fly at our approach.
We visited Steveís studio where he paints wildlife and hunting dogs. Heís a gifted artist. One painting showed a dog watching as a covey of quail flew over a fence.
Although declining in some areas of Georgia, we saw 4 Loggerhead Shrikes on the WMA. And there were 2 Northern Harriers soaring and diving over a field where we were eating our picnic lunch. A Sedge Wren skulked in typical behavior in thick edges of the field near the ponds but did make the characteristic call which is good because our views of him were fleeting so this helped to confirm the identity.
A more cooperative male Common Yellowthroat gave us good views. It was a toss up between Red-headed Woodpeckers and Palm Warblers as to the more common bird today. We had a lot of both all over the refuge. We had 5 sparrow species: Song, Savannah, Field, Swamp and Chipping. This is a good place for sparrows.
Two male American Kestrels sat up on snags for beautiful views of this small falcon and we had one Hairy Woodpecker which is becoming hard to find in our area.
The sunny afternoon brought out 10 types of butterflies including Tropical Checkered Skippers and Gulf Frit. Caterpillars. Also 3 types of dragonflies including Blue-faced Meadowhawks for the third week in a row. The Southern Spreadwing damselfly seen is a new Burke County record.
The trip ended about 4pm when we got back to our cars at Phinizy Swamp. Excellent field trip. Anne Waters.
The 6 people who attended the field trip had a beautiful sunny warm day. We saw 2 very large alligators who were also out enjoying the sunshine. Along the paved road we had some interesting small birds which included flocks of Robins and Cedar Waxwings enjoying the berries. There was a strange looking Robin who was quite pale with strange white facial markings.
Also seen were a Hermit Thrush, Catbird, Common Yellowthroat and Palm Warbler, Most unusual were 2 White-crowned Sparrows. Two Barred Owls called back and forth over and over. They mate this time of year so I suspect love was in the air.
We also heard Fish Crows, more unusual here in winter.
In the ponds an Osprey flew over. Many wintering ducks had arrived: Ring-necks, Gadwall, Ruddy, Shoveler, Bufflehead, Redhead and Canvasback, plus Hooded Mergansers.
Three Horned Grebes were in Expressway Pond. Ring-billed Gulls, Canada Geese, and big flocks of Cormorants were on the ponds. Most surprising were 3 immature White Ibis.
Seven species of butterflies were out in the warm sun also. They obviously found warm places to hide last week when the temps dipped down to 21 one night. We saw Buckeye, Sleepy Orange, Checkered Skipper, Viceroy, Gulf, Variegated Fritillary, and Cloudless Sulfur.
In all we had a total of 60 species of birds for the field trip. Come join us next time. The birding is good and the company of others is even better. Anne Waters.
Six people came to the Dec 7th field trip to Merry Ponds. The rain held off all morning under gray clouds. We had shirt-sleeve weather of approximately60 degrees. Previous rain had turned the clay roads into mush so the ponds part of Merry Ponds were closed to vehicles.
We birded along the paved road and had Catbirds, Cedar Waxwings, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Orange-crowned and Black and White Warblers. A Winter Wren foraged around some fallen logs and finally let us have some good looks at his short tail.
A Barred Owl called from the swamps. We had 5 types of woodpeckers including Red-headed and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers who were fighting so fiercely that they tumbled into the water.
Gravel Pit Pond held a Ruddy Duck, Cormorants and Ring-billed Gulls. Common Gallinules were on Swan Pond.
In order to check waterfowl we looked from I-520 where we saw flocks of Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks, L. Scaup, N. Shovelers, Buffleheads and a Hooded Merganser. There was also a Common Loon in winter plumage.
In all we had 58 species with the field trip ending at approximately. 12:30. Just after this the rain moved in and it rained all afternoon.
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Local Birding Sites
Augusta Aiken Area Bird List