Birding in Brookside

Kingfisher scolding us
Kingfisher scolding us

Time to walk the Brookside Greenway along Five Mile Creek and watch for birds.

The hills around Brookside are red oak and loblolly pine developing after severe mining disturbance from 1870-1950’s.  The combination of creek, level open fields and rolling wooded hills produces a mixed habitat for many types of birds including great blue heron, kingfisher, hawks, and bluebirds. Newfound Creek, a major tributary to Five Mile Creek, enters the creek near the old truss bridge on Main Street.

Bensko Park  is an open, level, relatively compact site bounded by  Five Mile Creek to the south and west. Creature comforts, such as restrooms,  picnic tables, and a children’s play area, are available. The birding areas are accessed via a well maintained paved trail that circumnavigates the property. Inside the walking loop, the central portion of the park is a closely mowed ball field.

As it is, common suburban birds (mockingbirds, cardinals, Blue Jays, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Cedar Waxwings (October to May) are found in and around the scattered trees along the path. There are numerous flycatchers (phoebes, pewees, Great Crested) and some raptors (Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Broad-winged (spring to fall]) present at most times.

Along the western portion of the trail, Five Mile Creek is bordered by thick grasses, meadow wildflowers, and small shrubs. This area should be filled with birds from autumn to spring. Expect a good selection of sparrows (notably Song, Swamp, White-throated, some Field and Chipping, perhaps some Savannah) and Common Yellowthroats in the warmer months. Carolina Wrens are permanent residents, with House and Winter wrens possible in the cooler months. Indigo Buntings can be found in the larger shrubs and small trees from April through October. There are a few spots that offer good vantage points of the creek. Look for kingfishers, herons (including Yellow-crowned Night Herons), Louisiana Waterthrushes, and even Wood Ducks as they nest in the vicinity.

Brookside birding is very similar to the Tarrant Five Mile Creek site shown on the following site from the Alabama Birding Trail