Walker County Public Lake is a man-made lake enveloped by pine woodlands with oak-hickory trees mixed in. The activity level and the numbers of birds present can be quite amazing. Until very recent years, finding a Tree Swallow in Alabama in the breeding season was an event. Walker County Lake in June hosts 30 or more. Purple Martins breed here, also. You’ll also find breeding Yellow Warblers in the saplings near the entrance gate and Orchard Orioles just above your head in the big pine to the right of the parking lot. Green Herons and other waders frequent the edges of the lake. Eastern Kingbirds, Belted Kingfishers, Pine Warblers and Brown-headed Nuthatches are quite abundant also. Bald Eagles are sometimes visit the lake. This wealth of bird life is most likely due to the presence of all the anglers who frequent the lake and pay little attention to the birds, which in turn seem unphased by the close presence of humans.
Start your tour on the road from Industrial Boulevard to the lake entrance; there is a good amount of low second growth and tall grass. The area should produce ample numbers of Indigo Buntings and a few Field Sparrows. Migration should pull in Palm Warblers. The lake entrance road passes through a corridor of tall pines which house Pine Warblers, Summer Tanagers; Orchard Orioles, and Red-headed, Red-bellied, and Downy Woodpeckers. The brick building to the south of the entrance gate has clean public restrooms; the fishing store by the water has snacks and drinks. The staff is friendly and very interested in birds.
Look for Yellow Warblers in the small trees near the fence at the entrance to the paved parking area. Scan the water’s edge for wading birds. There is a small pool or pond to the right side of a long spit of land to the south of the parking lot. Check for shorebirds in and around it – mostly Killdeer, but Spotted Sandpipers and others do occur here and along the shoreline from time to time. The lone large pine to the immediate south of the parking lot (on your right as you enter the park) is home to a surprising number of breeding birds, a regular avian apartment building. Look up to see Orchard Orioles, Eastern Kingbirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches and more. Also check the “bluebird boxes” here-most are occupied by Tree Swallows.
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