Hale County Black Belt Birding Tour
July 20, 6:00 am–7:00 pm
Advance registration is required.
Registration deadline is 12:00 noon on July 18th.
For our inaugural Black Belt birding trip of the summer, join us as we debut our first private tour of the 200-acre Joe Farm, a multigenerational Black Angus cattle ranch located just south of Newbern. Explore the farm’s diverse habitats and enjoy prime Swallow-tailed Kite viewing from the back of a tractor.
We’re excited to announce two celebrity birders will join us as special guests on this tour—Dr. J. Drew Lanham and Jason Ward. Read more below, or watch them together in the hit web series Birds of North America here. Space is limited—don’t miss your chance to attend this special event!
There are two options for this trip:
- Charter-bus transportation from Birmingham—tickets are $45* and are all-inclusive, payable at the registration link above. (The price covers bus transportation, a catered lunch, and the opportunity to go birding with our special guests. Restrooms available on the bus.)
- Drive yourself and meet us in Greensboro—tickets are $25*, payable at the registration link above. (The price covers a catered lunch and the opportunity to go birding with our special guests. It does not include charter-bus transportation.)
For the first option, the recommended arrival time is 6–6:15 a.m. in the Belk parking lot at the Riverchase Galleria (2100 Galleria Cir., Hoover). The bus will depart at 6:30 a.m. sharp. From here, we will drive to Greensboro for those who wish to meet us at 8 a.m. at the Piggly Wiggly (115 Main St., Greensboro) and caravan behind the bus in their own cars. We will depart from Piggly Wiggly at 8:30 a.m. to begin the tour. Click here for a PDF with the map and location info for the meeting stops and route.
After lunch, we’ll head to the Joe Farm to watch Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites as they mow their pastures and search for Prothonotary Warblers and other birds in the bottomland hardwood forests. We’ll depart the Joe Farm at 5 p.m. and plan to arrive back at the Riverchase Galleria parking lot by 7 p.m.
All of our Black Belt trips can be long and hot, so be sure to plan accordingly, with plenty of drinks and snacks, as well as a full tank of gas (if driving yourself), insect repellent, rain gear, and appropriate summer attire and sunblock.
*Cancellation policy: Ticket prices are non-refundable after 5 p.m. Monday, July 15th. If you must cancel, please email us or call us at 205-719-3678 prior to 5 p.m. on July 15th. Thanks!
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accessible; some uneven terrain.
The food: We’ll break for lunch at 11 a.m. and meet at the Fellowship Hall at Hunter’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Lunch will include BBQ pork and chicken, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, tossed salad, and rolls as well as beverages. If you have food allergies or preferences, you may wish to pack your own lunch. Lunch is included in the price of the ticket, which is non-refundable.
The birds: We can expect to see Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites, Wood Storks, and White Pelicans. We will also be looking for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Painted Buntings.
Trip leader: Ansel Payne leads this trip with special guests. His cell is 304-533-4741 (day of field trip only, please). If you have questions, feel free to email us.
Dr. J. Drew Lanham, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Master Teacher and Certified Wildlife Biologist, Clemson University
Dr. J. Drew Lanham is a professor of wildlife at Clemson University, where he holds an endowed chair as an Alumni Distinguished Professor and was named an Alumni Master Teacher in 2012. His research focuses on songbird ecology, as well as the African-American role in natural-resources conservation. A South Carolina native, Lanham is active on a number of conservation boards, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Audubon South Carolina, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote, and the American Birding Association, and he is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education. He was most recently named a 2016 Brandwein Fellow for his work in environmental education, and he has also been a fellow of Toyota TogetherGreen and the Clemson University Institute for Parks. Lanham is also an author and award-nominated poet; his first solo work, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, was published in 2016. Lanham received his BA and MS in Zoology, and his PhD in Forest Resources, from Clemson.
Jason Ward, National Audubon Society Fund II Apprentice
Jason joined our team in early 2019 as our Fund II Apprentice* and has become a web sensation as the star of the new popular series Birds of North America. Originally from the Bronx, Jason has lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for over a decade, volunteering with the Atlanta Audubon Society to lead bird walks and science surveys. An experienced birder, self-proclaimed science nerd, and social activist, he’s also worked with Audubon as a freelance writer, exploring topics as diverse as bird-identification tips, Chimney Swift conservation, and the role of race in the conservation movement. *This program is funded by a grant from the Fund II Foundation. Find out more at fund2foundation.org.