Su = summer
F = fall
W = winter
Sp = spring
YR = year-round
[July 2005] = Most recently checked by KB
[N/A] = Not yet checked by KB
= Location is within +/- 10 miles of the indicated interstate highway. This is especially helpful for out-of-town birders who may be passing through Georgia while travelling and would like to get a quick birding fix. This is also helpful for birders planning a "Big Day," where staying close to a major interstate corridor is essential for covering the greatest diversity of habitats in 24 hours.
= Location is a "Georgia Birding Hotspot." Though this designation is subjective, it generally means that the area should be given high priority when planning a birding trip to a region. Some Hotspots offer incredible, productive birding virtually year-round (Jekyll Island), while the best birding of the year may be more seasonal at others (Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park).
SBM = Shorebird Migration; this very generally refers to mid-March thru May in spring and mid-July thru mid-October in fall. Fall is the prime shorebird season. Baird's and Buff-breasted Sandpipers likely only in fall. Peak passage of specific species is quite variable.
PM = Passerine Migration; this very generally refers to April and May in spring and August thru mid-October in fall. This includes all songbirds - wood warblers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes, flycatchers, etc. Peak passage of specific species is quite variable. Spring migration is much more concentrated and birds are often in colorful breeding plumage. Fall migration is more spread out; fall wood warblers can be notoriously difficult to identify (or even impossible to determine sex), with numerous juveniles which do not exhibit the same obvious field marks as adults.
IBA = Important Bird Area; the aim of the IBA Program is to identify and conserve key breeding and feeding sites for birds. An Important Bird Area is a place that provides essential habitat for one or more species of bird, whether in breeding season, winter, or during migration. These sites are considered to be exceptionally important for bird conservation; see Georgia's IBA Webpage.
1) GlennVille Wastewater Treatment Facility [Nov 2006]
[DeLorme pg. 54, C-2]
From I-16, get off at Exit 116 (Ga Hwy 301) and head south, passing through Claxton. About 26 miles from I-16 you'll come into the town of Glennville. Just after going through downtown, pass McDonald's on the right (last easily-spotted landmark before the turn). At approx. 28 miles from I-16 (and just past a pecan store on the left after McDonald's) turn LEFT onto Pecan Rd. Continue on this paved road until you get to a fence on the left beyond which you can see the first part of the application field, with rows of sprinklers mounted on wooden posts. Soon you'll see a simple red brick sign on the left reading "Glennville Wastewater Treatment Facility." IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of April 2007 this facility is OFF LIMITS to the public except on Saturdays from 8:00am-12:00 noon and during officially scheduled, guided field trips. Pay attention to the GABO-L ListServ for trips offered through festivals, GOS Meetings, etc. Here is a very helpful post written in May 2007 by Gene Wilkinson, the Birding Community's ambassador to the facility: "Here is the latest on the birdwatching procedures for the Glennville Water Treatment Facility. The facility will be open for birding activities each Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. The gates will be opened and closed by Daine Bazemore or myself, as the city authorities have designated us to perform this task for birdwatching activities. Also, birdwatching trips can be set up with a (5) day prior request for week days Monday through Friday, for official birding groups or clubs, civic and school groups. Such trips will be approved pending work activities at the facility. The Mayor and city council are supportive of the birding activities at the facility, but due to the complicated issues surrounding the operations of such, certain measures have to be taken to protect the city and birders' interests. We appreciate all the support and patience by the birding folks from GABO and others and we ask you all to continue to come and enjoy the birds that visit this site year round. Please call myself or Diane Bazemore when planning a group visit on weekdays. Saturday visits require no calls, but early arrival times before 9:00 a.m. is requested. Gene Wilkinson (912) 654-3928 (home); (912) 401-7478 (cell); Daine Bazemore (912) 654-3756 (home)" The GWTF is relatively new to the birding community. The facility was opened to birders officially by the mayor in 2005-2006, and all visiting birders must show their best efforts to maintain this access by showing respect to the property and by being very careful, especially with motor vehicles. The dikes between the impoundments do have dirt tire tracks and can be driven, but they are much narrower than at E.L. Huie, with no gravel in many areas. After wet weather, it would be too easy to get stuck in the mud, and on top of that there are steep concrete ditches hidden along the roads in tall grass. The main message here is that we simply should not leave the main entrance road in our vehicles. The entire area can be birded much more thoroughly and successfully on foot, and without excessive hiking, and this is how it should be. If folks attempt to drive the dikes, someone is bound to get into trouble and cause the place to be closed to the public. As you come into the property, you'll first pass an expansive land application area on your left (looks like a pasture with sprinklers on it - see PHOTO 1). Just at the end of the last field is the first pond (see PHOTO 2). Carefully pull your vehicle off the road on the right in this area and park. In fact, there is a gravel road that comes in diagonally on the right before the pond, which seems to be unused. You could pull over into this area to park safely out of the way of maintenance vehicles. You can see a view of this approach in PHOTO 3, with my white car parked on the right shoulder. From here, make your way down the road toward the pond quietly - waterfowl may be present. You may see Killdeer in the field, perhaps other grass pipers in migration, or swallows or raptors overhead. As soon as you can see open water, scan for waterfowl in fall and winter, including Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, American Coot, Common Moorhen; Pied-billed Grebe or American Bittern may also be seen. In summer you may see Purple Gallinule or Least Bittern. Waders will also be present. Many cattails and other aquatic herbaceous vegetation provide lots of great habitat for rails. You could encounter Virginia Rail, King Rail, and Sora... more "colorful" species have been reported. Sparrows abound along the edges of the ponds in fall and winter, especially along the fence bordering the edge of the property with a nice swamp on the other side. In fall and winter you will find an abundance of Savannah Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, and Song Sparrow; White-throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, and Field Sparrow may also be seen, and rare stuff will pop up as well - a Clay-colored Sparrow was seen 11/3/06. Neotropical migrants like wood warblers, vireos, thrushes, and flycatchers will keep you on your toes along the wooded edges during spring and fall migration. With plenty of dead snags in the surrounding woods and swamp, the woodpecker lover will be happy, too - all the "regular" Georgia species may be seen (not including the highly specialized, federally endangered Red-cockaked Woodpecker). The agitation ponds, with long stirring wands and slanting concrete edges, host various shorebirds during migration as well. Basically, this place has some amazing, diverse habitat in a unique location in the state, and is not overwhelmingly large. We must be very careful while birding this new gem, and not take our vehicles into it. The place is going to host plenty of awesome birds in years to come, regardless of whether birders are allowed to get in to see them!
PHOTO 1 PHOTO 2 PHOTO 3
Text by KB & Gene Wilkinson; photos by KB
2) Big Hammock WMA [N/A]
IBA, early Sp-late F
See Beaton's Birding Georgia.
[DeLorme pg. 54, D-1]
3) Farm Pond [N/A]
SBM, Su-early F for waders
[DeLorme pg. 54, C-3]
If weather has been hot and dry, and water is down, this can be a virtual Mecca for waders; up to 300 White Ibis late July 2006 along with many other herons, egrets, etc. Going east out of the town of Glennville, about 2 mi. on Hwy 144, take a right on Rogers Rd. go south about 1 mi. The farm pond is on the right abutting the road. It has lot of cattails on the upper end (Least Bittern?) . Normally with full water there are no mud flats in it. There is an area beside the road you can park and scope the area in comfort near the spillway.
4) Kite foraging site [N/A]
late Su-early F
[DeLorme pg. 54, C-1]
Good for both Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites in late July through August. From the town of Reidsville, take GA Hwy 23/57/121 SE towards Glennville. Turn right to follow Hwy 121 when it splits off to the right. Take Rt 121 S to Rushing-Boone Rd (county 295) turn right. This road immediately splits. Take road on right (Ashmore Smith Cr / County Rd 293) for 2/10 of a mile. The field is on the left.The best times to see the Kites foraging is in the mid-morning.
Copyright 2013 Ken Blankenship. All rights reserved.