“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

The Birdiest

It’s a word! It’s a word actually being used, and I’m not kidding. Words being used are best, even if they aren’t in a dictionary. Birdiest is SO being used that being named one of the birdiest places is governed by rules.

birdfest

Undaunted by even the BP oil disaster, millions and millions of birds are making their annual migration over the Gulf of Mexico, and lots and lots of them are flying over the Alabama Gulf Coast. Right now, the birds are flying south for the winter. And right now is one of the best times to go birding in Mobile and Fairhope, Alabama. To add lots of value to your birding experience, sign up for the 7th Annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal BirdFest, Oct. 14 – 17.

mudlakes1 Photos: Lisa Comer. Above: Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, taken at the BirdFest
Below: Great White, Snowy, and Cattle Egrets, taken at the BirdFest

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Places in this area, specifically the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries and Sea Lab, have been named one of the birdiest in America. You’ll see all kinds of shapes, colors, and species; you’ll hear warbles, songs, and experts talking about the sights and sounds. And you can walk, walk, walk.

According to John Borom, currently director of Faulkner State Community College and president of the Mobile Bay Audubon Society, birding is not only a special pleasure, it is “big business in Alabama.”

“It is eco-tourism, and the emphasis is on conservation of habitat,” he said. “Proceeds from the BirdFest go toward support of the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries. Over the years we have been able to donate $65,000.”

 

American Avocet The opening night reception will feature BirdFest and other photos by Lisa Comer. Above, American Avocet.

Faulkner State will host a free event that promises to delight the whole family: the Bird and Conservation Expo is scheduled for Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Faulkner State and the Fairhope public library.

clip_image001Becky Collier and raptor friend will be at the Expo again this year.

 

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Borom also suggests the 240-mile long Alabama Coastal Trail. “It is a hot birding area,” says Borom.

 

Birders on trail copy Birders on the trail

 

 

 

He also notes that the BP disaster has raised awareness about the critical importance of conserving habitat, as the marshes and breeding grounds for all kinds of bird and sea life have been adversely affected by the catastrophe. “We don’t yet know how it has affected the food chain. We’re going to be watching closely. Only time will tell,” he said.

He emphasizes that the migratory birds are unaffected, and this year’s BirdFest promises to be as good as ever.

For updated information on the oil spill and how it affects travel in the Mobile Bay area, visit these websites: http://www.mobilebaytravelupdates.com, www.eschamber.com, or www.gulfshores.com. For more information about the BirdFest, call Fran Morley at 251-928-0987.

blue heron Lisa Comer: Above: Blue Herron. Below: airborne raptors.

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For one of 2010's birdiest experiences, put the Alabama Coastal BirdFest on your to-do list.

 

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