MTOS Field Trip to Ensley Bottoms

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Dick Preston is our leader for the Memphis TOS chapter’s mid-week trip to the famous Ensley Bottoms, aka the “Pits.” Shorebirds are the target birds. Check out recent and past eBird sightings at this hotspot here.

Meet at 7:30 am on Wednesday, September 7 at the T.O. Fuller State Park Visitor Center, 1500 West Mitchell Rd., Memphis, TN 38109. You don’t have to be a MTOS member to participate and be sure to bring binoculars.

The Ensley complex consists of Ensley sewage ponds (aka, the “Pits”), TVA Lakes, and Riverport Road ponds. The “Pits” consist of an array of sewage sludge drying ponds–some dry and some flooded depending on rainfall and treatment. Shallow water/mudflat habitat attractive to shorebirds is abundant and large numbers of shorebirds frequent the area from March through October with smaller numbers of birds through winter. Weedy and overgrown fields and road sides support breeding Dickcissels and Northern Bobwhite and wintering White-crowned Sparrows. The young forest stands and tree lines provide perches for Red-tailed Hawks, Loggerhead Shrikes, and Eastern Kingbirds.

Caution: The disagreeable odors from the sludge drying ponds can be overwhelming at times. After rain, dirt roads are extremely slippery and caution must be taken. Never take risks while driving in and birding this area.

Contact Dick Preston for more information at dickpreston48@gmail.com or 901-837-3360. Photo ©2017 Michael Todd

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