Winter birding in the northern Mississippi Delta can be very exciting, with huge flocks of wintering geese (Snow, Ross’s, Greater White-fronted) and other waterfowl and good chances for local specialties such as Sandhill Crane, LeConte’s Sparrow, Brewer’s Blackbird, and beautiful color morphs of Red-tailed Hawk. On Saturday, Jan. 6, we’ll meet at 8:30 a.m. in Batesville, MS, and begin birding in the nearby ag lands of Panola County. We’ll seek the Sandhill Cranes that typically spend each winter there, check for a Rough-legged Hawk recently reported in the area, and visit a reliable spot for the beautiful and elusive Le Conte’s Sparrow. Along the way, we’ll enjoy large flocks of Snow and Ross’s Geese and other waterfowl, keep an eye out for Rusty and Brewer’s Blackbirds, and seek other wintering raptors, such as the beautiful Harlan’s and Krider’s morphs of Red-tailed Hawks that have been seen lately. If we have time, we’ll hit Sardis Dam for waterfowl and gulls, including Lester the Lesser Black-backed Gull who has been reliable there for many winters now. All parts of the field trip are optional, and participants can depart early as needed. The trip will include a lot of roadside birding, with some optional short walks.
The trip will depart at 8:30 a.m. from the southwest corner of the parking lot of the Lowe’s store in Batesville, MS, which is just east of I-55, on the north side of Hwy 6 / 278. For those who participate in the whole trip, we’ll finish around mid-afternoon. Please bring plenty of your own food and drink to keep you refreshed while birding, as we will not make a separate stop for lunch, and bring LOTS of layers of warm clothes. Registration is required for this event–to register, please choose an option above. Student registration is free, but still must be completed. Membership with the Mississippi Ornithological Society (MOS) (link) or the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center (SPAC) (link) is required for discount non-student registration. All net proceeds support Delta Wind Birds’ efforts to foster habitat for migratory shorebirds in the Mississippi Delta.