Dedication ceremony and bird walk planned for November 14
To celebrate the addition of the Forever Wild Wehle Tract in Bullock County to the Wiregrass Birding Trail, a dedication ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at 9 a.m. Attendees should meet at the trailhead, which is located 3 ½ miles east of Midway, Ala., on Pleasant Hill Road (Bullock County Road 47).
Immediately after the dedication ceremony Eric Soehren and John Trent with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) State Lands Division will lead a short bird walk. Those participating in the guided walk should bring binoculars, water and snacks as needed.
“Wehle’s public accessibility and designation as a birding hotspot for many rare regional species make it an important destination for birders throughout the Wiregrass,” said Chris Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner and Chairman of the Forever Wild Land Trust Board of Trustees. “We encourage the public to attend this event and discover the rich natural diversity that makes the Wehle Tract so special.”
In the event of bad weather, the dedication ceremony will take place at the Wehle Land Conservation Center dining hall or nature center just a short drive from the trailhead.
The 1,505-acre Wehle Tract offers excellent bird diversity with more than 170 species currently documented on the property. Two hiking trail loops totaling 1.9 miles provide easy access to multiple habitats including open pine-grassland savanna, a forested pond, and expansive bottomland hardwood forest corridors along a creek floodplain.
A species often sought by birders is the Bachman’s sparrow, which is common in the pine uplands of the Wehle Tract. Other species of interest include Northern bobwhite quail, common ground-dove, red-headed woodpecker, Acadian flycatcher, brown-headed nuthatch, Kentucky warbler, hooded warbler and yellow-throated warbler.
The Forever Wild Wehle Tract is also a Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird hotspot, which means anyone using the eBird mobile app or website can review all bird sightings on the property listed in the eBird database. Birders are encouraged to plan their visit using eBird’s Wehle checklist available at https://ebird.org/hotspot/L682963.
The Wiregrass Birding Trail is one of eight regional birding trails in Alabama and features 20 sites within national forests, state parks and on other public lands. For more information about Alabama’s birding trails, visit www.alabamabirdingtrails.com.
Directions to the Forever Wild Wehle Tract Trailhead
From Montgomery: travel north on Interstate 85. Take exit 15 onto Alabama Highway 110 towards Union Springs. Stay on Alabama Highway 110 until it ends at U.S. Highway 82. Turn left onto U.S. 82 East and travel through Union Springs to Midway, Ala. Once in Midway, turn right onto Alabama Highway 51 and take the first left onto Pleasant Hill Road (Bullock County Road 47). Travel 3 ½ miles to a small gravel parking lot with an information kiosk on the right.
From Eufaula: travel west on U.S. 82. Turn left onto Barbour County Road 49. At the brown nature center sign, turn right onto Mt. Pleasant Road (Bullock County Road 47). Travel 4 miles to the trailhead parking lot on the left.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 32.04599, -85.46914
For more information about the Forever Wild Wehle Tract, visit www.alabamaforeverwild.com/wehle-tract or call the Wehle Land Conservation Center at 334-529-3003.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.