Eight Great Fall Birding Trails
Autumn migration season is here. Millions of birds are on the wing, covering thousands of miles across oceans and continents. Grab your favorite field guide and hit the road to see one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.
John James Audubon was profoundly influenced by his time in southern Louisiana in the early 1800s. Travel this remarkable trail and you will begin to understand why. Stunning natural habitats set the stage for 115 birding sites strung together in 12 distinct loops, where you will experience the region's birdlife and its rich Creole culture. Vast interior marshes teem with herons, egrets, ibises, and gallinules, proving that the name "America's wetland" is no idle boast. Along the coast, tidal flats and beaches host huge numbers of migratory sandpipers and plovers. Serious birders often visit the trail's isolated woodland patches near the coast, where odd stray birds from western North America some- times show up in fall. For more: louisianatravel.com/louisiana-birding-trails
Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail
Woodland lanes lined with stately live oaks, glistening tidal flats thronged with sandpipers and terns, and broad, sweeping salt marshes where wading birds abound--these are just a few of the memorable landscapes waiting for visitors along the Georgia coast. Practically anywhere in this region can be good for birding, but to find the best of the best, binocular-clad travelers can focus on the 18 sites featured on this birding trail. Most of these loca- tions are also designated Important Bird Areas, underscoring how vital they are to all sorts of migrating birds that stream by. Birds like black skimmers, clapper rails, and American oystercatchers may be found in every season, and fall migration brings many more, including piping plovers and varied songbird flocks. For more: georgiawildlife.com/node/1356
New Jersey Birding & Wildlife Trails
Despite its small size, New Jersey's landscape is tremendously varied. These trails, created by New Jersey Audubon, focus on four distinct state regions. On the northwest section's Skylands Trails, see broad-winged hawks and flocks of colorful warblers moving along the ridges. The Meadowlands Trails beckon urban- ites from nearby Manhattan, providing an easily accessible route to view short-billed dowitchers, great blue herons, green-winged teal, and even bald eagles. Farther south, the Pine Barrens Trails string together 120 wildlife areas in and around the million-acre Pinelands National Preserve. The Delaware Bayshore Trails cul- minate at Cape May Point, the world-famous birding hotspot at which thousands of migrating raptors pass by. Throughout the fall, northwest winds bring parades of high-flying travelers, from warblers and sparrows to peregrine falcons. For more: njwildlifetrails.org