Fall 2023 Field Trips


All participants must email Barry at flemiba@auburn.edu to advise of your participation and your cell phone number if you plan to attend any field trip so we know how many to expect on each trip, and so any last minute changes can be sent to you. Due to the nature of some sites we may restrict the number of participants on a field trip.  Please check the AOS website for updates.           

Register Here

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Exploring Dauphin Island

Trip Leader:  Scot Duncan and Barry Fleming

Meeting Time: 6:30 a.m.

Meeting Place: Green Park (next to Ship & Shore)

We’ll bird the varied habitats of Dauphin Island with our Keynote Speaker starting at the airport for rails and sparrows, then to the Shell Mounds for warblers, vireos, tanagers and any other Neotropical migrants we can find. In addition to the Shell Mounds we’ll check out the Audubon Sanctuary and other island hotspots, aided by the cellphone network of sightings by other birders on the island. Other than Audubon Sanctuary, which is a circuit of one mile, there is not a lot of distance walked on this outing, though almost all of our time is spent on foot.

Note: It is important for all participants to meet at Green Park, and not arrive at the airport independently. Early airport arrivers can cause rails and sparrows to retreat into the marsh before the rest of the group arrives.

Birds of Pelican Island

Trip Leader: Larry Gardella

Meeting Time: 6:30 a.m.

Meeting Place: Start of pier in the parking lot at Public Beach (next to school)

Join Larry Gardella to get to know the birds of Alabama’s richest beach habitat, Pelican Island, formerly an island, but now a peninsula. With an eBird count currently standing at 186 species, Pelican Island is exceptional for a strip of beach and dune 100-150 yards wide and just over 1.5 miles long at low tide. It’s an easy walk on flat sand, and our distance traveled depends on how close the birds are to the pier. The island is growing longer once again, and given the tide, the far end, which often has most of the birds, will be about 1 to 1.3 miles from the pier. Participants can return to their cars at any time. There’ll be several spotting scopes for general use, which can quickly ramp up your shorebird ID skills.

Sunday, October 15, 2023


IMPORTANT NOTE: This trip is planned, but for the last couple of Octobers bird activity has been very quiet at this usually very productive site. The site will be visited just a little before the trip, and if similarly quiet a different outing may replace this one.

Field Trip to Blakeley Island Mudlakes

Trip Leader:  Larry Gardella

Meeting Time:  6:30 a.m. for a departure at 6.45 a.m. sharp.

Meeting Place:  Green Park (next to Ship & Shore).  Parking is very limited at the Mudlakes so some car-pooling is necessary. Participants staying overnight off the island can meet at the Mudlakes. Please advise when signing up, and you will receive directions and start time.

The Blakeley Island Mud Lakes are a complex of disposal ponds that attract large numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl.  We’ll carpool to the site and walk the dirt road up and along the dikes to view rows of ponds of varying depths.  Expected birds are American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Stilt Sandpiper, and a variety of other shorebirds, as well as Gull-billed Tern, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and raptors, often including Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Mississippi Kite and Northern Harrier, are often seen.  We’ll return to Dauphin Island in time for compilation at noon. Walking distance is about two miles in the open with no shade. Terrain is good, level dirt road. Mosquitoes and biting flies may be present. If there has been recent rain places may be muddy. Once in the site participants must stay on the roads, not even going into the immediate vegetated verges. AOS and individuals could lose the hard-won permission to bird here if this occurs.     

Note: A permit form must be lodged with the State Docks Authority prior to your arrival and the permit displayed inside the windscreen. Go to  http://www.aosbirds.org/alabama-birding/blakeley-island/ to register in advance.  Registration is valid for the rest of the calendar year.