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Schedule of Events • 2016 Alabama Coastal BirdFest
Registration is now closed for the 2016 event.

All trips filled in order of registration received/paid

Wednesday, October 5

#101 - Hummingbirds Workshop
 2–4pm. 5 Rivers • Fee: $15
Fred Bassett, certified master bird bander, will present an overview of hummingbirds’ habitat, food, and migration, and talk about how to attract hummers to your yard. He will share tales from his 20+ years studying and banding hummingbirds in more than 1,000 locations, from South Florida to Alaska. Fred founded Hummingbird Research, Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes the conservation of hummingbirds through research and education. They continue the vision of Bob and Martha Sargent and the Hummer/Bird Study Group.

#102 - Basics of Birding Workshop
2–4pm. 5 Rivers • Fee: $15
New to birding and want to enhance your experience during BirdFest and beyond? This workshop, taught by an experienced education from Birmingham Audubon, will offer tips on what to lok for and when, how to use binoculars, what you need to know about birding etiquette, and more.

#103 - Orientation, Presentation & Welcome Reception
6–8pm. Delta Hall at 5 Rivers • Fee: $22
Enjoy beverages and hors d’oeuvres, meet your fellow birders, pick up local brochures and your name badge, place an early bid on the silent auction, and enjoy “Nature Through Our Lenses,” focusing on works from our 2016 poster photographer, Janice Neitzel, along with previous featured photographers, BirdFest founder John Borom, and members of Mobile’s CameraSouth and Eastern Shore Camera Club.
             

Thursday, October 6

#201 - Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 – includes lunch
#201A: Meet bus at Bon Secour headquarters, approx. 7:30am
Fee: $25 – bring own lunch
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on Fort Morgan Peninsula is a prime birding location. Our guides and naturalists from BSNWR will take you down trails through woods, coastal marsh, and sandy beaches to seek birds in a variety of habitats. Extensive, long walking, including sand and wooded trails

#202 - Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 – includes lunch
The Nature Conservancy calls this area one of the “last great places on Earth.” Fishing, shrimping, and oyster harvesting are big businesses here, and birding concentrates on waterbirds, shorebirds, and marsh species, with passerines and raptors abundant in the fall. Moderate walking

#203 - Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $54 – includes lunch
#203A: Meet bus at DISL parking lot, approx. 7:30am
Fee: $38 – bring your own lunch
Join our guides and marine biologists from Dauphin Island Sea Lab for a cruise aboard the Alabama Discovery. You’ll learn the Bay’s history, ecology, and value, perhaps see bottlenose dolphins and Sand Island Lighthouse up close, and view specimens caught in a trawl net. Includes a stop at the George F. Crozier Estuarium.

#204 - Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
6:30am–noon. Carpool from 5 Rivers
Fee: $22
Mobile River’s Blakeley Island is known for large dredge disposal ponds that are the premier shore-birding spots in the state. With Battleship Park on the Causeway, these sites are great for spotting Osprey, shorebirds, and waterfowl—and the occasional Roseate Spoonbill. Moderate to heavy walking

#205 - Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve / Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
7–9am. Departs from Weeks Bay Marina
Fee: $27
With biologists and our guides, you’ll cruise Weeks Bay, Fish River, and Magnolia River onboard the Weeks Bay Explorer and learn about this beautiful estuary. Afterwards, you may enjoy boardwalks through a bottomland hardwood swamp and/or a native pitcher plant bog or see exhibits in the Interpretive Center.

#206 - Langan Park & Environmental Study Center
7am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 - includes lunch
Explore urban birding locations in Mobile with stops at Langan Park, trails at the University of South Alabama, and the Mobile County Environmental Studies Center, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility, where you will enjoy a bird and wildlife presentation from staff naturalists. Easy walking

#207 - Eagle’s Nest Kayak Tour - NEW!
8–11am. Departs from Meaher State Park boat launch
Fee: $60 - includes all necessary gear, safety equipment, and bottled water
On this trip, you’ll paddle (in tandem or single kayak) from Meaher State Park (just across the road from 5 Rivers) to visit an eagle’s nest accessible only by water. This nest has been active for a number of years and this is your year to visit it! With expert guides, you’ll cross the Blakeley River and paddle into shallow water sloughs to see this magnificent example of eagle architecture. Moderate paddling
 
#208 - Weeks Bay Paddle
8–11am. Departs from Weeks Bay Marina
Fee: $33 - includes all necessary gear and safety equipment
Meet your guides from 17 Turtles Outfitters at the Weeks Bay Marina, pick out your canoe or kayak, and paddle southwest along the shore, hearing about the flora and fauna of the estuary and wetlands, arriving at the site of an eagle’s nest, viewable only from the water. Easy to moderate paddle

#209 - Bon Secour River Eco Cruise
9–11am. Departs from dock at Beaux’s at Oyster Bay in Gulf Shores
Fee: $27
Take a comfortable cruise on Bon Secour River onboard Alabama Cruzin, with expert guides from Wild Native. Watch for bottlenose dolphins and other wildlife, and learn how the region has changed over time, with points on the geology, ecology, and characters of our coast: pirates, empire builders, and fishermen.

#210 - Alligator Alley Adventure
10am–1pm. Meet at entrance to Alligator Alley in Summerdale
Fee: $22 - includes Low Country Boil lunch
Enjoy a walk on paved paths and elevated boardwalks to see 400+ alligators, from hatchlings to mature adults. Then have a seat in the covered viewing area and watch what happens when the feeding crew rings the dinner bell! Trip includes a guided birding walk on the property’s trails and a Low Country Boil for lunch. Easy walking. All handicap accessible.

#211 - Weeks Bay Sunset Cruise
5–7:00pm. Departs from Weeks Bay Marina
Fee: $27
End your day with a leisurely cruise onboard the Weeks Bay Explorer, cruising Weeks Bay, Magnolia River, and Fish River, and watching as bird and sea life (possibly bottlenose dolphins) end their day. We’ll position the boat perfectly giving you time to snap some great sunset photos before heading back to dock.

 

Friday, October 7

#300 - Dauphin Island/Trans Gulf Migration Flyway
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 - includes lunch
#300A - Meet bus at Cadillac Square Park on Dauphin Island, approx. 7:30am
Fee: $27 - bring your own lunch
WildBird magazine called Dauphin Island, a narrow barrier island only 14 miles long, one of the “top four locations in North America for viewing neotropical migration.” This heavy-walking trip will visit prime birding spots, including the Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuaries, the airport marsh, Shell Mound Park, the goat trees, and the causeway. Extensive walking

#301 - Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $54 – includes lunch
#301A: Meet bus at DISL parking lot, approx. 7:30am.
Fee: $38 – bring your own lunch
Join our guides and marine biologists from Dauphin Island Sea Lab for a cruise aboard the Alabama Discovery. You’ll learn the Bay’s history, ecology, and value, perhaps see bottlenose dolphins and Sand Island Lighthouse up close, and view specimens caught in a trawl net. Includes a stop at the George F. Crozier Estuarium.

#302 - Splinter Hill Bog
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 - includes lunch
The Nature Conservancy’s Splinter Hill Bog Preserve and adjacent state-owned Forever Wild Preserve are home to diverse habitats and some of the largest white-topped pitcher-plants bogs in the world. More than twelve species of carnivorous plants and many wildflowers that attract several butterfly species can be seen. Easy but long walk

#303 - Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
7–9am. Departs from Weeks Bay Marina
Fee: $27
With biologists and our guides, you’ll cruise Weeks Bay, Fish River, and Magnolia River onboard the Weeks Bay Explorer and learn about this beautiful estuary. Afterwards, you may enjoy boardwalks through a bottomland hardwood swamp and/or a native pitcher plant bog or see exhibits in the Interpretive Center.

#304 - Gulf State Park & Perdido Pass
7am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 - includes lunch
#304A: Meet bus at Gulf State Park Nature Center, approx. 8am
Fee: $25 - bring own lunch
This trip will visit Gulf State Park Nature Center to see exhibits and hear the latest on birds in the park from the naturalist on duty, then go birding along Shelby Lake and at Marsh Bridge before heading to Gulf State Pier and to Perdido Pass/Alabama Point East. Easy walking

#305 - Middle Bay Lighthouse Boat Tour
7–11am. Departs from Bartram Landing at 5 Rivers
Fee: $60
There are just a handful of “screw-pile” lighthouses left in the United States, and this trip will take you to Middle Bay Light, one of only a few still on the water. With guides from Delta Safaris, you’ll learn about Mobile Bay and visit this relic that was so crucial to sea farers of the past. Access to the lighthouse is prohibited, but we will circle the lighthouse with plenty of time for photos.

#306 - Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Kayak Tour
8am–noon. Departs from dock at Beaux’s on Oyster Bay in Gulf Shores
Fee: $70
Just five minutes from Gulf Shores, this kayak tour takes you into a coastal wilderness. Led by guides from Wild Native, you’ll explore inlets and canals of the refuge that cars can’t reach. Named as one of the “ten natural wonders” of Alabama, BSNWR gives you a glimpse of our coast as it once existed. Easy paddle

#307 - Delta Discovery Cruise
1–5pm. Departs from Bartram Landing at 5 Rivers
Fee: $60
With expert guides from Delta Safaris, you will explore miles of rivers, creeks, and bayous of the Lower and Middle Mobile-Tensaw Delta onboard the Osprey, seeing alligators, snakes, turtles, and wading birds—and possibly nutria, wild hogs, and bald eagles. In addition, you’ll learn of the Delta’s history, with stories of Native Americans, European explorers, soldiers, and WWII-era Liberty Ships.

#308 - Bird & Nature Photography Workshop
2–5 pm. 5 Rivers • Fee: $20
Jeff Johnston, BirdFest’s outstanding feature photographer in 2012 and an experienced instructor, leads this workshop that includes classroom instruction and a short field trip to practice your new skills.

#309 - BirdFest Social with Speaker and Silent Auction
5:30–9pm. Delta Hall at 5 Rivers
Fee: $38 (wine & beer provided by our host hotel, Hampton Inn, Daphne)
Enjoy Southern hospitality and a delicious meal with barbecue, seafood, and tasty sides. The BirdFest silent auction wraps up this night, so be ready to place your final bid! Our speaker, Dr. John Dindo, an Associate Director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, will discuss the range of coastal habitats in our area that support a unique diversity in avian species—from flooded riverine forests to sandy shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico—and how changes in natural and man-made environments affect these habitats.

 

Saturday, October 8

#401 - Dauphin Island Shorebirds
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 – includes lunch
#401A: Meet bus on Dauphin Island at Cadillac Square Park, approx. 7:30am
Fee: $25 – bring your own lunch
Dauphin Island is one of the “ten most globally important sites” for migration. We will visit the maritime forest, marshes, and dunes of Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Pelican “Island,” a narrow strip of land that migrated from Sand Island Lighthouse and is now attached to Dauphin Island. Moderate to extensive walking/distance

#402 - Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
6:30am–noon. Carpool from 5 Rivers
Fee: $22
Mobile River’s Blakeley Island is known for large dredge disposal ponds that are the premier shore-birding spots in the state. With Battleship Park on the Causeway, these sites are great for spotting Osprey, shorebirds, and waterfowl—and the occasional Roseate Spoonbill. Moderate to heavy walking

#403 - Fort Morgan Peninsula/Trans Gulf Migration Flyway
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 – includes lunch
#403A: Meet bus outside the gate to Fort Morgan, approx. 7:30am
Fee: $25 – bring own lunch
The American Bird Conservancy calls Fort Morgan one of the top “globally important bird areas” in the U.S. You’ll visit the open areas and shoreline of Fort Morgan Historical Park, all part of a vital Trans Gulf Migration Flyway. Moderate to extensive walking

#404 - Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $47 – includes lunch
The Nature Conservancy calls this area one of the “last great places on Earth.” Fishing, shrimping, and oyster harvesting are big businesses here, and birding concentrates on waterbirds, shorebirds, and marsh species, with passerines and raptors abundant in the fall. Moderate walking

#405 - Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve / Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
7–9am. Departs from Weeks Bay Marina
Fee: $27
With biologists and our guides, you’ll cruise Weeks Bay, Fish River, and Magnolia River onboard the Weeks Bay Explorer and learn about this beautiful estuary. Afterwards, you may enjoy boardwalks through a bottomland hardwood swamp and/or a native pitcher plant bog or see exhibits in the Interpretive Center.

#406 - Delta Discovery Tour
7–11am. Departs from Bartram Landing at 5 Rivers
Fee: $60
With expert guides from Delta Safaris, you will explore miles of rivers, creeks, and bayous of the Lower and Middle Mobile-Tensaw Delta onboard the Osprey, seeing alligators, snakes, turtles, and wading birds—and possibly nutria, wild hogs, and bald eagles. In addition, you’ll learn of the Delta’s history, with stories of Native Americans, European explorers, soldiers, and WWII-era Liberty Ships.

#407 - Alligator Alley Adventure
10am–2pm. Meet at entrance to Alligator Alley in Summerdale
Fee: $22 - includes Low Country Boil lunch
Enjoy a walk on paved paths and elevated boardwalks to see 400+ alligators, from hatchlings to mature adults. Then have a seat in the covered viewing area and watch what happens when the feeding crew rings the dinner bell! Trip includes a guided birding walk on the property’s trails and a Low Country Boil for lunch. Easy walking. All handicap accessible.

#408 - Wolf Bay Dolphin Cruise - NEW!
10am–noon. Departs from Tacky Jack’s in Gulf Shores
Fee: $22
Onboard the Alabama Cruzin’ with experienced guides from Wild Native, you’ll enjoy a cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway to Wolf Bay, one of the most popular areas to find bottlenose dolphins. We’ll patrol the waters in search of the Gulf Coast’s favorite finned friends: find them, photograph them, and learn about them.

#409 - Bon Secour River Paddle
1–4pm. Departs from dock at Beaux’s on Oyster Bay in Gulf Shores
Fee: $70
The Bon Secour River is one of the best birding rivers in the region. You’ll see multiple species of wading birds in a protected setting and might even see bottlenose dolphins and manatees! Guides from Wild Native will assist you through every aspect of this fun and informative paddle as you are introduced to the fauna, flora, and history of the Bon Secour River. Easy paddle

#410 - Fairhope Fly Creek Exploration Paddle
4–6pm. Departs from 17 Turtles Outfitters
Fee: $33 - includes all necessary gear
Enjoy an easy paddle (canoe, kayak, or standup paddle board) that starts in urban setting, slips past moored sailboats, yachts, and shrimp boats, and up the quiet waters of Fly Creek. Guides from 17 Turtles Outfitters will tell you about this small but important watershed as you view creekside backyards and fishing docks. Easy paddle

#411 - Delta Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise
5–7pm. Departs from Bartram Landing at 5 Rivers
Fee: $38 – includes wine & light hors d’oeuvres


A classic way to wrap up BirdFest—a cruise through bays, tidal marshes, and mud flats onboard the Osprey with wine and light snacks to enjoy. As the sun sets, your Delta Safaris captain will position the vessel for you to enjoy a magnificent sunset. Relax, wind down, and let nature’s beauty unfold before you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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