TRIP REPORT – Turkey Creek Nature Preserve 3-5-16

The Saturday, March 5th field trip to Turkey Creek was attended by twenty-plus people who enjoyed the morning walking the road along the rapidly flowing creek. Before the walk started, we gathered in the museum and heard a short history of the Nature Preserve by manager Charles Yeager. I’ve heard it before but its history and beauty are amazing, and so much has happened to get the land back to its pristine state.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet by Matt Hunter.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet by Matt Hunter.

By Matt Hunter.In 2013 the Freshwater Land Trust coordinated a federally-funded project to remove a 90-year-old, 6-foot-tall, 85-foot-wide dam from the stream in an effort to improve habitat for endangered species. Turkey Creek is home to three endangered species of fish, the rush darter, the vermilion darter, and the watercress darter, plus a population of the endangered flattened musk turtle. The rush and vermilion darters are unique to Turkey Creek. The property was acquired by Alabama's Forever Wild Land Trust and is co-owned by the Jefferson County Commission. Management of the park is a cooperative effort of the Alabama Public Lands Division, the Fresh Water Land Trust and the Society to Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek (START), while the City of Pinson has agreed to provide garbage removal.

By Matt Hunter.In 2013 the Freshwater Land Trust coordinated a federally-funded project to remove a 90-year-old, 6-foot-tall, 85-foot-wide dam from the stream in an effort to improve habitat for endangered species.
Turkey Creek is home to three endangered species of fish, the rush darter, the vermilion darter, and the watercress darter, plus a population of the endangered flattened musk turtle. The rush and vermilion darters are unique to Turkey Creek. The property was acquired by Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust and is co-owned by the Jefferson County Commission. Management of the park is a cooperative effort of the Alabama Public Lands Division, the Fresh Water Land Trust and the Society to Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek (START), while the City of Pinson has agreed to provide garbage removal.

The morning started out crisp and cool but soon warmed. Waiting for us as we approached the gate was a young Barred Owl, sitting on a tree branch close to the road. What a photo opportunity! Even with all the people the owl just sat there, half-asleep but looking around. We could have all gone home at that point because it was the bird of the day. We did go on to see a few more birds, with good views of both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and elusive views of a Sapsucker, which was always landing on the back side of a branch. We had fleeting views of Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers as well. Let us not forget the creek: it is beautiful! With little rapids to a wonderful turbulent waterfall, there is nothing like the sound of rushing water. Old friends were seen and new friends were made with such a nice group of people.

Turkey Creek is in need of more of everything: volunteers and monetary support. Visit the Turkey Creek web page and see the opportunities that are available.

By Matt Hunter. The falls on Turkey Creek have been used for recreation and picnicking since the 1870s. Prior to that, David Hanby lived and operated a mill on part of the property.

By Matt Hunter. The falls on Turkey Creek have been used for recreation and picnicking since the 1870s. Prior to that, David Hanby lived and operated a mill on part of the property.

Many thanks to Charles for being with us!

My joy is birding, Susan Barrow