A short and sweet trip to the Gulf Coast of Alabama that’s all about spring migration. With a bit of luck, we will witness a migratory ‘fallout,’ one of the true spectacles of nature, amid the backdrop of beaches, barrier islands, and coastal forests.
In the spring, bad weather can make the journey across the Gulf of Mexico a difficult one for migrating birds. Many will not survive. Those that do are likely to land on the first piece of terra firma they reach, often in large numbers, in order to eat, drink, rest, and gain strength for the continuing trip north. What is bad for the birds can be good for the birder, and Dauphin Island, a barrier island at the entrance to Alabama’s Mobile Bay, is among the best places on the Gulf Coast to experience one of these “fallouts.” Even without ‘fallout,’ Dauphin Island, with its variety of accessible bird habitats, such as the renowned Shell Mounds and the 160-acre Audubon Sanctuary, is generally considered to be an outstanding spring migration hot spot. We will explore the island thoroughly, and we also plan to take the ferry over to the Fort Morgan peninsula for additional birding opportunities along the shores of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Some of the Birds We Hope to See
As well as pelicans, cormorants, gulls, terns, waders, shorebirds and other birds expected on a barrier island, we should find several raptors and many migrant passerines, including 20+ warbler species, 4-5 vireo species, orioles, cuckoos, thrushes (Gray-cheeked, Swainson’s, Hermit, Wood, & Veery), Tanagers (Scarlet & Summer), Buntings (Indigo & Painted), Grosbeaks (Blue & Rose-breasted), & various flycatchers.