American White Pelicans, Jackson County, MS

Photo by Dianne Bailey

 

 

MISSISSIPPI COAST AUDUBON SOCIETY

FIELD STRIP SCHEDULE

FOR

SPRING 2014

 

 

  Print up a new MS Coastal Bird Checklist  for your next outing.

 

For more information about MCAS please

call 228-861-1622

 

JANUARY 18, 2014
Mcleod State Park and Adjacent Woodlands


This is a relatively spacious area covering 5 or more square miles in rural wooded waterside and residential sites in the Kiln area.  This field trip will include the “Kelleher Property” who have welcomed birders for the past ten years to conduct CBCs in the area.  Expect early migrants, resident passerines and water birds that make their home along the Jordan River.  Texas Flat Road and Mcleod State Park will offer other chances to see grassland birds and raptors.  Your leaders for this trip are Joe Ravita and Jason Pyron.  Joe has spent over twenty years birding from Waveland to Pascagoula Mississippi.  He has a wonderful sense of wit as well as being a great teacher.  Jason represents a new breed of birders who takes advantage of some of the new technology the world has to offer.  Jason is never without his camera, which has been used several times to verify an identification in the field.  Join Joe and Jason at the Hancock County Middle School at the north side of Stennis Airport Road at 7:15 with a departure time of 7:30.  


FEBRUARY 8
Seaman Road Lagoons


Join your leaders Sharon Milligan and Nancy Madden for a field trip to one of the top birding sites in South Mississippi.  This area is birded by permission only and we are most fortunate to have both Sharon and Nancy to lead this trip. They have participated in a team effort in the documentation of the bird activity in this area for years.  This is the prime time to look for sparrows and waterfowl before they begin to leave and to explore the other wonderful bird life that exists here at the lagoons.   Sharon has also gained a certain amount of local fame for her beautiful nature photos.  She and Nancy both gladly share their wealth of experience with others.  Join them at the park and ride just south of the Ocean Springs exit next to Denny’s at 7:30.  Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one, and of course water and snacks.
 


FEBRUARY 15
WAVELAND BEACHES TO GULFPORT


Get ready for shorebirds and raptors on this field trip that takes us from The Silver Slipper Casino in Waveland to the Courthouse Road Pier.  When the tide is just beginning to go out, the water has deposited and stirred up a virtual buffet for our shorebirds.  It is at this time we can hope to see hundreds if not thousands of birds congregated together along our shore.  Your leaders will be Millie Page and Alison Henry.  Millie has been an active member of the birding community for years.  She has taken on roles from coordinating Christmas bird counts to leading field trips.  Her wealth of knowledge regarding our birdlife along the coast is invaluable   Alison Henry brings a breath of fresh air to birding with her knowledge of the local birds.  Alison is also an accomplished artist and her watercolors depict some of our most popular birds in their favorite habitats.  Her keen ear and wit make for a learning experience that is both fun and informative.  Meet at the Washington Avenue Pier in Waveland at 7:45.
 


MARCH 8
SPENCES’S WOODS AND ANSLEY


  For years this has been the first place birders flock to in the spring to get the first songs of Northern Parula and other early arrivals.  Pushing migration a bit, birders just can’t stand not to be part of something wonderful.  Many of us have put our birding on the backburner through the winter months but theres is something about the idea of the birds moving that gets us moving.  Join Millie Page and Tish Galbreath for this field trip. Tish left the Mississippi Coast for a while but has returned to open arms by the birding community.  Tish’s knowledge of our local birds combined with her natural humor make for a wonderful time in the field.  Meet Tish and Millie at the Stennis Welcome Center off I-10 (Hwy 607)  at 7:30.  Brings snacks and water and bug spray.
 


MARCH 15
SHIP ISLAND


Ship Island offers a wonderful opportunity to explore shorebird habitat that may be so desirable to some of our birds that they just don’t bother to venture to our coastline.  Libby Graves has spent years leading tours and conducting surveys on the island and this makes her “numero uno” when it comes to the knowledge of distribution and concentration of birdlife on the island.  Libby has marked March 15th for this field trip with an alternate date of March 22 in case of rain.  This trip requires some walking but it is all at your own pace.  Be sure and bring plenty of water and snacks.  The ferry leaves at 9:00 a.m. and returns at 2:30.  Many a gulf coast birder as well as visiting birders look forward to this field trip above all others.  Contact Libby @oliviaphotos@bellsouth.net.
 


MARCH 22
DEATON PRESERVE (alternate Ship Island date)


The Deaton Preserve lies in the northern part of George County and covers some of the most desirable habitat for birding anywhere in the six southern counties of Mississippi.  Unfortunately, this area has been subject to very little exploration by birders and the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society has taken up the gauntlet to make an effort to gather more information regarding the bird life that exists there.  Perhaps we will return from this adventure with newly recorded dates for some of our migrants or even something better!  Join us and find out!  Dr. Mark Woodrey has agreed to be the leader on this expedition.  Mark has spent years in the field studying various species of birds from Swallow-tailed Kites to Henslow Sparrows.  He is an accomplished teacher and a field biologist and in the past has spent time in the Deaton Preserve.   Meet Mark at the Vancleave Library on Hwy 57 at 7:00.  From there we will carpool to the site.  Please bring snacks, bug spray, water and a lunch.  Since this site is so far away, we will want to spend as much time as we can and will most likely stay until at least early afternoon.  And please, bring a tip for your driver.


MARCH 29
DAUPHIN ISLAND


The top birding site in the entire country, you better believe it!  Dauphin Island holds this place in the book,  Top 100 Birding Sites in the United States.  Not only because it holds that honor alphabetically but the birding there can be spectacular in the spring and the fall.  Our leader Don McKee, who was a well accomplished birder here along the coast long before moving to the island, has gained the reputation as “the go to man’ when it comes to birding on Dauphin Island.  Don continues to be an example to all birders.   It is a rare gift to be able to teach and have fun at the same time.  Don’t miss the chance to be  amazed.  Meet Don at Cadillac Square at 7:30  Bring snacks and water.
 


APRIL 5
LOGTOWN (including new Boardwalk)


Get ready to refamiliarize yourself with some of the most famous songsters of the bottomlands with some of the most talented birders in the state of Mississippi. The Mississippi Ornithological Society will be holding their spring meeting here along the coast and will be joining us for this field trip.  We will be exploring the new boardwalk in Logtown that will be opening back up just in time for this trip.  This well constructed path meanders through bottomlands back to the Stennis site with habitat on both sides that is sure to attract many of our migrating songbirds as well as other species.  Thanks to the watchful eye of Sue Epps, we are already hearing good things.  Join your leaders Nancy Madden, Sharon Milligan and an array of other talented birders at 7:15 with a departure time of 7:30 at the Stennis Welcome Center (Hwy 607)
 


APRIL 12
CLOWER THORNTON NATURE TRAIL AND GULFPORT BEACHES

As many of you know, the Clower-Thornton Nature Trail was nearly destroyed by the salt water from Katrina.  Careful monitoring of activity in the trail has seen a remarkable comeback from the catastrophic storm. Before Katrina,  Clower-Thornton quickly became a birding hotspot and was well known as a prime migrant trap.  As many as 20 species of warblers as well as five thrush species along with many other birds have been recorded there during a fallout.  Come join us in hopes that we can continue to enjoy and monitor the recovery of this small patch of woods so close to downtown Gulfport.  After visiting the trail, we will head for the Courthouse Road pier and then drive west to Moses Pier.  Meet your leader J. Morris at the railroad entrance to the trail at 8:00 a.m.  Jay has spent the past fifteen years monitoring the bird activity here.  Will the Bell’s Vireo make another appearance this year?  Come find out.  Bring your bins, water, snacks and a scope if you got one.
 


APRIL 19
JUDY TOUPS BIRDATHON


Start compiling your team list now for this annual birding event in honor of our beloved mentor and friend Judy Toups.  In the past,  many a dedicated birder from near and far has come to  participate in this Big Day event.  With all this talent in the field, we are sure to spot something spectacular.  Anybody remember Nancy’s Painted Redstart?  Even though this is a friendly competition, everyone gives it their all from early morning owls to Chuck-wills-widows in the evening as the sun goes down.   More details will follow but in the meantime if you have any questions, you can email J. Morris  @falconsgrip6@gmail.com
 


APRIL 26
LOGTOWN


Once again we will explore the new boardwalk that meanders through bottomland habitat for nearly three miles back to the Stennis Center and then back to the majestic oaks that line the gravel road to the river.  By this time, spring migration is in overdrive and the bird activity here should be exceptional.  Brush up on those calls and wipe the dust off that field guide.  Who will spot the first Mississippi Kite or hear the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher?  Meet your leaders Nancy Madden, Jay Morris and Alison Henry at the Stennis Welcome Center (Hwy 607)  Bring bug spray, water and snacks.
 


MAY 3
SEAMAN ROAD LAGOONS


Once again we join Sharon, Nancy and other members of the survey team that have been documenting the activity in this most sought after birding spot for years.  The size and diversity of this habitat make it a must on any serious birders list.  If you missed the first trip, don’t drag your feet on this one.  Remember, it is only by special permission that we have access to this location.  Prepare to be impressed.  Bring water, snacks and bug spray.  Meet Sharon at the park and ride just south of the Ocean Springs exit next to Denny’s.  Meeting time will be 7:15 with departure for the lagoons at 7:30.
 


May 10
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER SITE
stay tuned for further info!



MAY 17
DAUPHIN ISLAND


Later in the season brings a better chance to see migrants that sometimes come through this time of year on the island.  While there are no guarantees during migration (who would want to be a birder if there was?) this is the prime time on the island for such species as Mourning Warblers.  Who doesn’t need that bird for the year, or for their life list!  Our host once again will be Don McKee.  Plan to meet Don at the Cadillac Square at 7:30.


Field Trip Schedule Compiled by J. Morris, 228-236-5240, falconsgrip6@gmail.com 

 

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