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Registration is now closed for 2013

Orientation, Presentation & Welcome Reception
Event #1 Wednesday, Oct. 2: 6–8pm, Delta Hall at 5 Rivers
Fee: $15

Enjoy beverages and a light meal, meet your fellow birders, and get a head start on the silent auction at the beautiful 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center. Starting at 6pm, you may pick up your registration packet and get directions for drive-yourself trips. If you arrive early, browse the exhibit hall or just relax on the back deck, enjoying the expansive view of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Bring your binoculars!

            At 7pm, make your way to the Tensaw Theater for “Nature Through Our Lenses 2013,” a musical slide show of bird and nature photos taken by our area’s finest photographers, including this year’s poster photographer Larry Dees, previous feature photographers Jeff Johnston, Sherry Stimpson Frost, Bill Summerour, Terry Hartley, Lisa Comer, Kathy Hicks, and BirdFest founder John Borom, plus members of Mobile’s CameraSouth, the Eastern Shore Camera Club, and Wide Angle Photo Club of Pensacola. Join us for this always entertaining photographic journey through the rich natural environment of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Trip #2 Thursday: 6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $43 includes lunch

Trip #2A Thursday: Meet bus at Bon Secour headquarters (approx. 7:30am)
Fee: $23 – bring own lunch

During migratory seasons, more than 370 species of birds have been identified at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, located on Fort Morgan Peninsula. Guides for this trip include naturalists from BSNWR who are intimately familiar with the refuge’s 7,000 acres of coastal barrier habitat that is home to migratory birds, nesting sea turtles, and the endangered Alabama beach mouse. Our trip includes walks through maritime forests, a coastal marsh, and beaches—essential habitat for an amazing diversity of birds. You might see Scarlet Tanager, Palm Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Brown Pelican, Marshal Wren, Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Swainson’s Thrush, Osprey, Merlin, and Forster’s Tern, and possibly migrating Monarch butterflies. This trip includes extensive walking through brush, wooded areas, and on the beach. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Dauphin Island-Trans Gulf Migration Flyway
Trip #3 Thursday, Oct. 3: 6:45am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $43 – includes lunch

Trip #3A Thursday, Oct. 3: Meet bus on Dauphin Island at Cadillac Square Park (approx. 7:30am)
Fee: $23 – bring own lunch

Dauphin Island is a narrow barrier island, just 14 miles long; but this tiny strip of land has been noted by WildBird magazine as one of the “top four locations in North America for viewing neotropical migrations.” An informal count in April 2008 recorded 203 species, making it the “Birdiest Small City” in the U.S. 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, rock jetties at Fort Gaines, and the causeway. On this trip, you might see Clapper Rail, Great Blue Heron, Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson’s Thrush, Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Brown Pelican, and Black Skimmer. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Mobile Bay, Dauphin Island Sea Lab Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
Trip #4 Thursday, Oct. 3: 6:45am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $48 – includes lunch

Trip #4A Thursday, Oct. 3: Meet the bus at Estuarium parking lot (approx. 7:45am)
Fee: $33 – bring your own lunch

Trip #11 Friday: 7am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $48

Trip #11A Friday: Meet the bus at Estuarium parking lot (approx. 8am)
Fee: $33 – bring your own lunch

View gulls and pelicans up close—watch the movements of individual feathers—as you cruise on Mobile Bay in the comfort and safety of Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s research vessel, the Alabama Discovery, a 65-foot fiberglass hull boat. With the aid of marine biologists from DISL and our birding experts, you will learn the Bay’s history, ecology, and value, and get an up-close look at specimens caught in a trawl net. The trip includes a stop at the George F. Crozier Estuarium and might make a close-up pass of Alabama’s only off-shore lighthouse, the Sand Island Light. Expect to see Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Black Skimmer, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Forster’s Tern, Caspian Tern, and Herring Gull—and perhaps even a Great Albatross and bottlenose dolphins.

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Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
Trip #6 Thursday, Oct. 3  •  Trip #13 Friday, Oct. 4  •  Trip #20 Saturday, Oct. 5
7am–noon. Carpool from 5 Rivers or meet at Weeks Bay marina (approx. 7:45am)
Fee: $25

With the aid of biologists from the Reserve and other birding experts, you will learn about the ecology of this beautiful estuary on a comfortable pontoon boat cruise on Weeks Bay, Fish River, and Magnolia River onboard the Weeks Bay Explorer. After the boat trip, you may choose to take easy walks on a boardwalk through a bottomland hardwood swamp and/or rare native pitcher plant bog, or enjoy the exhibits in the Reserve’s Interpretive Center. On the cruise, expect to see Brown Pelican, Royal Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, Laughing Gull, Osprey, Bald Eagle and nest, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Clapper Rail—and perhaps American alligator and bottlenose dolphins. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Point aux Pins
Trip #5 Thursday, Oct. 3  •  Trip #9 Friday, Oct. 4
6:30am–2pm.  Bus leaves from 5 Rivers
Fee: $43 – includes lunch

The lands in this area are so biologically diverse that The Nature Conservancy has called it one of the “Last Great Places on Earth.” In the novel, Forrest Gump called it home. Fishing, shrimping, and oyster harvesting are still big business here while birding concentrates on waterbirds, shorebirds, and marsh species. Passerines and raptors are often abundant in the fall. On the trip, you might see Marsh and Sedge Wrens, Seaside and Swamp Sparrows, American Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Great Egret, and Mottled Duck. This is a moderate walking trip. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Bay Parks in Daphne & Fairhope
Trip #7 Thursday, Oct. 3: 8am–Noon. Carpool from 5 Rivers
Fee: $20

You’ll enjoy this moderate walking tour through a variety of local wood, wetland, and shoreline habitats, led by expert guides from 5 Rivers Delta Safaris. Expect to see a wide variety of shorebirds and migratory birds including Virginia Rail, Greater Yellowlegs, American Coot, Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull, American White Pelican, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Boat-tailed Grackle, White Ibis, Wilson’s Snipe, and Mallard. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Southbound Delta Adventure Cruise  NEW TRIP!
Trip #14, Friday, Oct. 4:  9:00am–2:30pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers, return to 5 Rivers by boat
Fee: $48 – includes lunch

After a short bus ride, this tour begins with a walking tour of the majestic oak-lined banks of Live Oak Landing on the Tensaw River. After time to explore, you’ll board the Osprey for a trip south through a variety of diverse habitats in the heart of the Delta. Led by guides from 5 Rivers Delta Safaris, you’ll experience nearly 25 miles of river and Delta shore line, with a stop to explore the sand banks and beaches of Gravine Island. Watch for Swallow Tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Belted King Fisher, Brown Pelican, and a variety of wading birds. Wear closed toe shoes and bring bug spray.
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Lower Mobile-Tensaw River Delta Osprey Cruise
Trip #8 Thursday: 2:30–4:30pm.  •  Trip #15 Friday: 3–5pm   •  Trip #21 Saturday: 2–4pm
Cruise departs from 5 Rivers
Fee: $25

Wind your way through open river, small bays, tidal marshes, and mud flats of the Lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta onboard the Osprey, led by a guide from 5 Rivers Delta Safaris. Designated as a National Natural Landmark by Congress, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta is home to an abundance of wildlife and vegetation including over 300 bird species. Look for Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Boat-tailed Grackle, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Wilson’s Snipe, Laughing Gull, and Willet. You might also see frogs, nutria, northern raccoon, and American alligators! Bring bug spray.

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Blakeley Island Mud Ponds and William Brooks Park
Trip #10 Friday: 6:30am–noon. Carpool from 5 Rivers
Fee: $20

Blakeley Island on Mobile River is best known for large dredge disposal ponds that are the premier shore-birding spots in the state. William Brooks Park, managed by the City of Chickasaw, features a boardwalk and easy walk to a viewing pavilion. Check for waders, waterfowl, and Osprey in the open areas over the creek. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Dauphin Island/Pelican Island Shorebirds
Trip #18 Saturday: 6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $43 – includes lunch

Trip #18A Saturday: Meet bus on Dauphin Island at Cadillac Square Park (approx. 7:30am)
Fee: $23 – bring your own lunch

Dauphin Island has been called one of the “ten most globally important sites” for bird migration. This tour includes the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, a 164-acre protected oasis of maritime forest, marshes, and dunes; and Pelican “Island,” a narrow strip of land that used to surround Sand Island Lighthouse but is now usually attached to Dauphin Island. On this trip, expect to see Red Knot, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet, Piping Plover, Black Tern, Semipalmated Plover, Laughing Gull, Brown Pelican, and Black Skimmer. Wear shoes that can get wet and pants that can be rolled up in case you have to wade a short distance to Pelican Island.

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Bottle Creek Indian Mounds Adventure  NEW TRIP!!
Trip #12 Friday, Oct. 4: 6:30–11:30am
Trip departs from 5 Rivers with short bus ride to boat dock upriver
Fee: $48

Are you ready for an adventure? On this tour we journey deep into the Delta and backwards in time to the Mississippian Tribes of the 13th Century. Mound Island is accessible only by boat. Once there, this interpretive tour involves a reasonable hike, culminating in climbing the highest hand-built mound at 45 feet. Your guide from 5 Rivers Delta Safaris will introduce you to the fauna and flora of the middle Delta’s cypress swamps and to the history of the Native Americans who left this amazing legacy. Great birding can be found on the island as well as the miles of river bank we’ll explore. Wear closed toe shoes and bring bug spray.
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Fort Morgan Peninsula/Trans Gulf Migration Flyway and Hummer/Bird Study Group
Trip #17 Saturday: 6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $43 – includes lunch

Trip #17A Saturday: Meet bus outside gate to Fort Morgan (approx. 7:30am)
Fee: $23 – bring own lunch

The American Bird Conservancy calls Fort Morgan one of the top Globally Important Bird Areas in the U.S. This trip visits the banding site of Bob Sargent and the Hummer/Bird Study Group that bands and records the health of 2,000-4,000 birds of 85-90 species over a two-week period every spring and fall. You might get to hold a bird in your hand and release it into the air. The trip also visits the open areas and shoreline of Fort Morgan Historical Park, all part of a vital Trans-Gulf Migration Flyway. On this trip, expect to see Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Palm Warbler, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Catbird, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin, and American Kestrel. Extensive walking in brush and sand. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring bug spray.

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Backcountry Trails & Graham Creek Nature Preserve
Trip #19 Saturday: 6:30am–2pm. Ride bus from 5 Rivers
Fee: $43 – includes lunch

Trip #19A Saturday: Meet bus at Backcountry trailhead, approx. 7:30am
(behind Orange Beach SportsPlex on William Silvers Parkway, just off Canal Road)
Fee: $23 – bring your own lunch

Enjoy a walk through a rare maritime forest on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, developed cooperatively by the City of Orange Beach and Gulf State Park. This remnant natural area acts as a lifeline for millions of migratory birds, providing food and shelter. Trip continues with a visit to Graham Creek Nature Preserve, a 484-acre tract owned by the City of Foley that is part of the Wolf Bay watershed, with open pine forest, wiregrass, and pitcher plant bogs.  The combination of habitats is attractive to a high diversity of bird species including Northern Bobwhite, Loggerhead Shrike, numerous warblers, vireos, tanagers, sparrows, waders (along the creek), and raptors.

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Bay Minette Basin Paddle
Trip #22 Saturday: 3:30–5:30pm. Car pool from 5 Rivers or meet at Buzbee’s Landing 15 minutes prior to trip departure time
Fee: $30 – includes canoe/kayak, paddle, life jacket, and launch fee
 
This beginner-level paddle, led by experienced guides from 5 Rivers Delta Safaris, explores the marsh grass and shallow bays of Bay Minette Basin. Keep an eye out for Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, American Coot, Clapper Rail, Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen, and Osprey.
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Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise NEW TRIP!!
Trip #23 Saturday: 5–7pm Cruise departs from 5 Rivers
Fee: $35 – includes wine & light hors d’oeuvres

What a way to wrap up BirdFest! Wind your way through open rivers, small bays, tidal marshes, and mud flats onboard the Osprey while enjoying a variety of different wines and snacks. As the sun sets, the Captain positions the vessel in the right place at the right time to enjoy a Delta sunset. Relax, wind down, and let nature’s beauty unfold. Look for Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Boat-tailed Grackle, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Wilson’s Snipe, Laughing Gull, and Willet. You might also see frogs, nutria, northern raccoon, and American Alligators.
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BirdFest Social with Speaker and Silent Auction
Event #16 Friday: 5:30–9pm, Delta Hall at 5 Rivers
Fee: $35 (includes soft drinks, wine, beer & coffee)

Our Friday night event shares the same beautiful space as Wednesday’s reception, Delta Hall at 5 Rivers. Come experience true Southern hospitality and a delicious meal with barbecue, seafood, and tasty sides. Place your bids on original works from talented local photographers and artists plus other fun-to-have items in the silent auction and enjoy the beautiful Delta sunset from the back deck.
      After dinner, our keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Woodrey, a Coastal Ecologist at Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi and Research Coordinator at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in Moss Point, will present a highly illustrated talk about marsh birds and why they are important. He’ll highlight his research on secretive species like Clapper Rails and passerines such as the Seaside Sparrow, and talk about the conservation of this poorly known group of birds.

BONUS Bottle Creek Indian Mounds Adventure 
Sunday, October 6
Tour Departs from  Lower Bryant Landing in Stockton, AL at 8am sharp. 
Guests need to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure. 
Immerse yourself in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and 800 years back in time to the mound-building Native American tribes of the region. When we reach Bottle Creek deep in the heart of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, guests will learn about their sports, housing, food and culture. Accessible only by boat, this is a 3.5 hour interpretive tour via motor boat that also includes a reasonable hike, culminating in climbing the highest hand-built Indian Mound on Mound Island at 45 feet. In addition to the history, your guide will introduce you to both the fauna and flora of the middle Delta's cypress swamps. Tour Includes boat transportation, bottled water, and guide. Please bring bug spray and dress accordingly to walk through woods. This bonus trip is provided by 5 Rivers Delta Safaris.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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