Prothonotary warbler, Sharon Milligan


Prothonotary Warbler

Photo by Sharon Milligan


  Latest MS Coastal Bird Checklist  for your next outing (revised October 2015).

NEW FALL 2017, for serious Mississippi Coast Birders!  Ned Boyajian's Annotated Checklist for Birding Coastal Mississippi.


For more information about MCAS please

call (601) 909-5383 (this number forwards to MCAS)




Mississippi Coast Audubon Society

Spring Saturday Field Trip Schedule 2018

Need more information? Contact us at
or call (no text)
(601) 909-LETE, (601) 909-5383

All are welcome on our birding field trips!  Bring your own binoculars.  Some trips require preregistration – see details.  Others need no advance notice, but keep weather in mind.  Contact field trip leaders (addresses below) for more information if needed.


Sat. 1/20: Biloxi Beaches, Harrison Co.

Leader: Holly Cox, (228) 432-8828.

Catch all those overwintering shorebirds and enjoy the beach!  We’ll stop at several bird hangouts on Harrison County beaches.  These sites are part of the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail.  More information at

Place and time: Meet at the Biloxi Beach Boulevard (Hwy 90) public parking lot south of Treasure Bay Casino at 7:30am


Conditions:  Easy beach walking with driving between sites

Sat. 1/27: Seaman Road Lagoons, Jackson Co.

Leader: Sharon Milligan (228) 861-1622

One of our most popular field trip venues, not otherwise open to birders - always a great variety of birds, with good opportunities for photos. Bring your binoculars, scope, refreshments, etc.

Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's (MAP), between 7:15 and 7:30 AM. 

Conditions: Slow driving with stops. IMPORTANT: This is a working facility. You MUST stay with leaders while on site. Call Sharon (above) if you have questions about policy.


Sat. 2/3: Sparrow Sweep, Jackson Co.

Leader: Mark Woodrey, (228) 697-0460

Dr. Woodrey has been researching grassland birds for many years and has secrets to share!  Learn about this elusive and tricky-to-identify but fascinating group of birds in this free workshop.

Place and time: Meet at the MS Sandhill Crane NWR Visitor Center in Gautier, MS (MAP) at 8:00am. We will catch and release a few sparrows on the grounds and will discuss the intricacies of sparrow identification at the same time.  We will be at the refuge until around 9:30 -10:00.
We will then caravan about five miles to The Nature Conservancy Old Fort Bayou Mitigation Bank which has an excellent diversity of sparrows where we can really work on our sparrow identification skills until around noon. Dress appropriately for the weather.  Boots that can get wet and muddy are a must. Sunscreen, bug spray, water/drinks, snacks, and binoculars are also essential.  

Conditions: Walking on uneven ground through grassland, driving between sites. Bathroom facilities at Crane Refuge but not Old Fort Bayou.

If last-minute weather questions, call or text Mark Woodrey at 228 697-0460.

Fri. 2/9: Red-cockaded Woodpecker Workshop, Harrison Co.

Leader: Ed Moody, DeSoto Forest Wildlife Biologist. 
SPECIAL PROGRAM!  Biologist Ed Moody has overseen the hugely successful Red-cockaded Woodpecker recovery program for many years.  At RCW colonies, he’ll explain the birds’ unique habits and show how habitat enhancements like artificial nest inserts recreate nesting conditions for these Piney Forest specialists. Opportunity for general birding after the talk.
Place and time: Meet at the Community Center, intersection of Larue and Old Biloxi Rd (MAP), 6:15am (these are early birds!).
Conditions: Drive to one or two sites on gravel road. Bug spray a good idea.  Weather questions day of trip? Call/text Janet Wright 228 238-4099.

Sat. 2/10: Triple Barrel (Pascagoula R. Marsh), Jackson Co.

Leader: Bryan White,  (913) 269-2213,
Join Audubon biological science technician Bryan White for an exclusive look at an Audubon Coastal Bird Survey site normally closed to the public. Triple Barrel (the site known to our old-time birders as Pascagoula River Marsh) is good for both Passerines and Waterbirds having uplands, freshwater marsh, and brackish water marsh. Knee boots or other footwear you can get wet and/or muddy are recommended.
Place and time:  7:30am till about 11. Meet at the gravel lot on the northeast corner of Jerry St. Pe Hwy and USS Vicksburg Way (Singing River Causeway) MAP
Conditions:  Short but steep path to top of berm, then easy walk on a 1.7 mile level earthen berm.
Note:  This site is not open to the public except for this field trip. You MUST REGISTER for this trip beforehand, by filling out a Hold Harmless form for Jackson County Port Authority.  Email Bryan ( to register.

Mon. 2/19 Presidents’ Day Gull Run, Hancock Co. & east

Leader: Joshua Hodge  601-765-5674

Join Hattiesburg’s Pine Woods Audubon chapter for an exciting "Birding Along the Coast" trip.  The group will start in Hancock County and move east until whenever.
Place and time: Meet at 7:45am at the Silver Slipper parking lot (SE corner next to beach, MAP) in Bay St Louis. Please note Josh's contact information above so you can find the group if they have moved on ahead.  They would also like to know of any rare or uncommon birds anywhere along the Mississippi Coast to target.
Conditions: Driving with stops.

Fri. 2/23 and Sat. 2/24, MS Sandhill Crane Nat Wildlife Refuge

Leader: MSCNWR Staff.  Pre-register: Janet Wright, (228) 238-4099.

Bird safari-style with the Crane Refuge’s own guides!   In addition to Mississippi Sandhill Cranes, we will be looking for grassland and other birds of the wet pine savanna, on Refuge lands not usually accessible to the public.  MCAS has TWO reserved time slots, Friday and Saturday morning.  Please choose Friday if you can, to leave the Saturday slot for worker bees.  ONLY 8 BIRDERS EACH DAY, so you must SIGN UP AHEAD – call or email Janet Wright (, 228 238-4099).

Place and time:  Meet at the Crane Refuge Visitor Center at 7200 Crane Lane, Gautier, MS (MAP) at 8:00am the morning of the tour (Friday Feb 23 or Sat Feb 24); come a few minutes early to use the restroom facilities, as the tour is 2 hours. Bring binoculars and field guides; there is room for one or two scopes.

Conditions:  Driving in Refuge van, but there may be opportunities to get out, so wear comfortable shoes that can get a little wet or muddy; wear layers for variable weather.


Sat. 3/3, Pascagoula Medley, Jackson Co.

Leaders:  Brian Johnston,, (228) 806-1712; Lucy Jacobson
The Pascagoula area has some hidden gems for birding. We’ll start at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center (PRAC) with forest and marsh habitats, then visit 2-3 other spots according to what’s good.

Place and time : Meet at Pascagoula River Audubon Center parking lot in Moss Point (5107 Arthur St, MAP), 8:00am.
Conditions: Alternating short walks with short drives.  NOTICE: Please bring a $5 cash donation for the PRAC portion unless you are a PRAC member – or
join PRAC before coming!

Sat. 3/10, Hancock County Beaches

Leader: Barbara Bowen (602) 319-0538. Shorebirds and more!  Including but not limited to Washington St. Pier, the new Marina, the Yacht Club and/or beaches west of Washington St. Pier – possibly forested areas north of the Yacht Club if conditions are right.

Place and time: Meet at Washington St. Pier in Bay St Louis (MAP), 7:30 AM.
Conditions:  Short beach walks with driving from site to site.

Sat. 3/17, Fontainebleau Trail Birds & Botany, Jackson Co.

Leaders:  Janet Wright (228) 238-4099, and Charley Delmas.
We’ll look for year-round residents and early migrants in pine savanna and bayhead habitat, while identifying wildflowers and leafing trees in full spring glory. The Fontainebleau Trail is part of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. With no burning for several years the savanna started to fill in, but recent management has opened up more bird habitat. Let’s see how well it’s working!
Place and time:  Meet at trailhead on Hanshaw Rd. Ocean Springs, N. of OS Middle School (MAP), 8:00am.
Conditions: Easy 1-mile walking trail. Boots strongly recommended after rain as parts of the trail can have standing water.

Sat. 3/24, Hiller Park & Biloxi Back Bay area, Harrison Co.

Leader: Dave Reed (985) 788-0536
We will be looking for early season migrants as well as some possible rarities at several Biloxi area parks.  Starting at Hiller Park on Biloxi Back Bay, we will then check Popps Ferry Causeway Park and James Hill Boardwalk.  Good way to learn some new birding spots if you don't know these.
Place and Time:  Meet at the Hiller Park Tennis Courts (MAP) at 7:30 AM.
Conditions: Easy walking, drive between spots

Sat. 3/31, Spence’s Woods, Hancock Co.

Leader: Jason Pyron

Spence’s Woods’ basic habitat is bottomland hardwood forest near the Pearl River, bordered by mixed hardwood and cypress swamps. In breeding season watch for Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-pewee, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Yellow-breasted Chat and Blue Grosbeak. Acadian FlycatcherProthonotary Warbler and Hooded Warbler are common in the wooded swampy areas; watch for Swainson’s Warbler near stands of cane and Yellow-throated Warbler in the mature Bald Cypress. The boat landing is a good scanning spot for Anhinga and Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites.

Place and time: Meet at Mississippi Welcome Center (south of Exit 2 on I-10), 7:30am

Conditions: Easy walking trail. 


Sat. 4/7 Logtown – Possum Walk, Hancock Co.

Leader: June Ladner (601) 795-7853

A variety of habitats rich in spring migrants.  Logtown is on the Mississippi Coast Birding Trail:  more info at
Place and Time
: Meet at the Stennis Exit (I-10 Exit 2) Welcome Center in Bay St Louis between 7:15 and 7:30 AM (
Easy walking trail, up to 3 miles.

Tue. 4/10 Dauphin Island, Mobile Co., Alabama

Leader: Don McKee (228) 238-2473.

The coast’s premier migrant trap, always a hotspot in spring. Top out your warbler list and take advantage of expert help.

Place and time:  Meet at Cadillac Square, 661 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL (MAP), 7:30-8:00am.

Conditions: Some walking, lots of observing from fixed points.

Sat. 4/14  Ansley Preserve, Hancock Co.

Leader: Ned Boyajian (228) 332-1329.

Coastal chenier migrant trap. This site is part of the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail: more information at

Place and time:  Meet at Ansley preserve parking lot (MAP), between 7:15 and 7:30am. (Driving directions: From Hwy 90 in Waveland, south on Lower Bay Road 71/2 miles to Heron Bay Road (34th St). Left onto Heron Bay Road ca. 2 1/2 miles to Preserve).

Conditions: Alternating short walks with short drives. Biting bugs may be present. Most walking areas should be dry.

Sat. 4/21, Ship Island, Harrison Co.

Leader: Olivia Graves (228) 860-1966

Join Ship Island Excursions for a trip to the barrier islands! Several species of Plovers good possibilities; Red Knot and/or one of the rarer gulls not unreasonable. Depending on weather could be a variety of migrants, and always a chance of a rare surprise. 

Place and time: Meet at Gulfport Harbor around 8:30am Ship Island Excursions dock (MAP) to board the boat which departs at 9am.  Ship Island Excursions, Gulfport, MS. Ticket prices:  Adult $32, Senior/Active military $29. for more information.

Conditions: Birding near fort and beach, then walking up to  ~5 miles on beach, but participants can opt out or shortcut at any point. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. There are restrooms on the ferry.  On the island, there are restrooms at the Fort on the north side of the island and snack bar on the south side of the island.  If there is a threat of bad weather, you can call Ship Island Excursions at 228-864-1014 for the status of the trip that day.

NOTE: Alternate day Sunday, Apr. 22, 2018 if cancelled due to weather.

Sat. 4/28, Boneyard Lake Rookery (Kayak trip), Jackson Co.

Leader: Larry Dees (228) 235-9764

Boneyard’s haunting beauty hosts a spectacular heronry of Little Blue, Green and Tri-colored Heron, Great, Snowy and Cattle Egret and White Ibis in spring. Other birds that can be expected: Purple and Common Gallinules, nesting warblers, vireos, variety of marsh-oriented birds. By kayaking in, we can get the best views of the nesting rookery.  A photographer’s dream.

Place and time:  Meet at the Chevron Station in Wade at the corner of Hwy 63 and 614 (MAP) at 5:45am (early hour to give time to launch and see the rookery at its best).

Special instructions: Bring your own kayak or small boat, life vest, bug repellent, water, snacks, etc.  You must also have a Wildlife Management Area User permit.  Season and day permits are sold at WalMart (see WMA User Permit here, or ask about a day permit or a Senior Exempt License) or online at [the website is confusing, but fill out the application and you’ll get a choice].


Sat. 5/5, Seaman Road Lagoons, Jackson Co.

Leader: Sharon Milligan (228) 861-1622

Back at this otherwise restricted site - always a great variety of birds, with good opportunities for photos. Bring your binoculars, scope, refreshments, etc.

Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's (MAP), between 7:15 and 7:30 AM. 

Conditions: Slow driving with stops. IMPORTANT: This is a working facility. You MUST stay with leaders while on site. Call Sharon (above) if you have questions about policy.

Sat. 5/12, DeSoto National Forest, Harrison Co.

Leader: Gerry Morgan (228) 239-6787

         We’ll be hunting the iconic Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW), along with other nesting birds of what used to be the South’s most widespread habitat, the pine savanna: Pine and Prairie Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Brown-headed Nuthatch, flycatchers and the elusive Bachman’s Sparrow.  Great chance to learn bird songs!

         Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's, 6:45am (if you are coming from the north, contact Gerry about going directly to the RCW site).

         Conditions: Driving on paved road, with stops and brief walks into habitat.

Sat. 5/19, Tern Nesting Colonies, Harrison Co.

Leader: Rhonda Plitt (601) 916-2457 and Sally Puent (

Mississippi beaches are primary nesting sites for Least Terns, Black Skimmers, and other coastal birds.  We will observe and identify nesting behaviors, nests and eggs of terns and skimmers, and learn what stewards will be doing through the spring and summer to guard nests and chicks at colony sites.

Place and time: Meet at the parking lot at Courthouse Rd and Beach Boulevard in Gulfport  (MAP) at 7:00am.  We will drive from there to several colonies.

Conditions:  Driving, with short walks on beach.  Wear sunscreen and bring water.  Good opportunity for spotting scopes.













 See you in the field!

MORE ABOUT Mississippi Coast Audubon Society:

We are a chapter of the National Audubon Society, with membership territory in the six coastal counties of Mississippi (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, George, Stone, and Pearl River).  You can JOIN National Audubon with a $20 or greater donation, and become a member of MCAS for free (what a deal!) by clicking HERE (the membership form specifies chapter M53 - that's us).

  MCAS Constitution and Bylaws


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