Lowndesboro bird watching

By Wanda Mitchell

The birding loop, located in Lowndesboro, offers some of the best bird watching in this part of Alabama. 

The loop consists of the Prairie Creek Campground, the Holy Ground Battlefield Park, and the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam.

All three sites seen individually are ample enough to satisfy any craving an amateur ornithologist, or bird watcher, might have for admiring the feathered creatures who share our world. But if you can make the loop in one day, which a person or group can easily do, the sights truly are worth the time and small effort.

Prairie Creek Campground is one of the most beautiful places in the area to watch birds. Located on the Alabama river, the peaceful drive into the campground offers several types of birds to view without even having to leave the car. Meadowlarks, bluebirds and raptors can be seen year-round and shorebirds and Eastern Kingbirds will appear during the warmer months.

In the spring and fall, migrating birds can be seen in the tall, majestic hardwoods that dot the main road in the park. Summer Tanagers, Orchard Orioles and Red-eyed vireos are some of the favorites found in this area. 

Travel further in, and the dark underbrush below the trees offers a paradise of species. Grab your field checklist of Alabama birds and be prepared to check off Indigo Buntings, Wood Thrushes, Peewees and White-eyed Vireos just to name a few.

As you near the water, Yellow-throated Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers can be seen in abundance. Egrets and herons can be seen most of the year and the Bald Eagles nest and winter in this area also.

Be sure to check out the banks of the river, the brush piles and the roots of the trees for other species on your list.

Prairie Creek Campground is located at 582 Prairie Creek Road in Lowndesboro. They can be contacted at (334) 418-4919.

Holy Ground Battlefield Park is the next stop in the bird watching loop. The Park is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers day-use recreation area. According to the history books, this was the site of the 1813 battle between U.S. soldiers and an encampment of the Red Stick Creek Indians, led by their famous chief, Red Eagle or William Weatherford, as he was also known. Under heavy fire from the U.S. forces, Red Eagle took his horse and crossed the river at the spot where the park is now located.

This beautiful area is well maintained with paved roads and a web of extensive cleared trails to enjoy. The woods surrounding the area have a fine mixture of mature trees with new growth. The view from the boat ramp allows excellent line of sight viewing of several different species of birds.

Woodpeckers, raptors and bottomland songbirds all call this area home. Bald Eagles and Ospreys nest in this area and can be seen all year long. Forster’s Terns, gulls and a number of waterfowls can be counted among the feathered residents of this area, also.

Holy Ground Battlefield Park is located at 300 Battlefield Road, in Lowndesboro. Their number is (334) 875-6247.

The third leg of the birding loop is the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam, located in the northern part of the county on the Alabama River. It incorporates the area between Montgomery and Selma, which is a prime birding site in the central Alabama region. 

The site has grassy meadows that slope down into weedy areas that border the Alabama River. The dam allows deeper water to gather on the eastern side while keeping the rocky shoals below the spillway. This mixture of habitats enables this area to produce an excellent variety of birds virtually year-round.

The best season for birding in this grassy area is in the winter. Sparrows abound, along with Savannah, Song and Vesper. Field Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes come to this area as a permanent breeding habitat.

Great Horned Owls are present year-round as well as Eastern Phoebes. And if you stay until after dark, you might see a Barn Owl or two hunting in the grassy fields.

The Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam are located at the Alabama River Lakes, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They can be reached at (334)872-9554.

Be sure to print off the Field Checklist of Alabama Birds before you go located on the website of the Alabama Ornithological Society at www.aosbirds.org.