Claiborne Lake Dam Site East Park in Alabama is a 500-acre park that offers a diverse habitat for birdwatching enthusiasts. Visitors can birdwatch in the pine plantation near the entrance or canoe Isaac Creek to spot various species such as Green Herons, Mississippi Kites, Acadian Flycatchers, and Northern Parulas. The park also features a wetland produced by beavers that is a bird attractant throughout the year, and visitors can watch various species of wading birds on the west bank of the river.
The area near the entrance is loblolly pine plantation. Park at the Alabama River Museum and bird the edges of the pines. Summer Tanagers, Pine Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and Eastern Bluebirds are spring and summer regulars. Purple Martins, Northern Rough-winged and Barn swallows, and Orchard Orioles frequent the area around the museum. Wild Turkeys, Northern Mockingbirds, and Pine Warblers are year-round residents.
Continue north on Isaac Creek Road to the boat ramp on Isaac Creek. Park and bird the hardwood swamp along the creek and the clearing and pines adjacent to the parking area.
Canoeing Isaac Creek will greatly enhance the birding experience, but is not a necessity. Green Herons, Mississippi Kites, Acadian Flycatchers, and Northern Parulas are spring and summer regulars. Swallow-tailed Kites have been reported nesting north of the Isaac Creek Campground. Winter brings Eastern Phoebes, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and several species of sparrows, including Swamp Sparrows. Alligators are a common sight around the fishing piers.
South of the lock structure, the park consists of lawn and second growth hardwoods. Loggerhead Shrikes regularly nest in the trees adjacent to the road and are year-round residents. Park at the pavilion and restrooms or at the overlook parking area and scan the river and west bank for wading birds. Great and Snowy egrets and Great Blue Herons can be abundant. Ospreys and Caspian Terns often fish below the dam during migration, and Double-crested Cormorants and Forester’s Terns are regulars in the winter. Watch the large sandbar on the west shore of the river for shorebirds during spring and fall migration.
Continue south to the playground adjacent to the southern boat ramp; park there and walk the Cypress Swamp Trail. A wetland produced when beavers dammed a culvert is a bird attractant during all seasons; watch for White Ibis, Little Blue Herons, and Common Yellowthroats.
This is the take-out for paddles from the Corps of Engineers Parks located upriver (PWBT stops 8, 11, and 13). The Alabama River Canoe Trail portage extends through the Dam Site East Park from the northern boat ramp to the southern boat ramp.
Free; please note that parts of the park are open to hunting during hunting seasons.
GPS: N 31° 36.960’ / W 87° 32.445’ (Park entrance)
Restrooms, Handicap access, Potable water, Parking, Camping (Isaac Creek Campground is part of this facility and is open year-round; it has RV hook-ups, showers, laundry, and potable water), Canoeing, Boat access, Picnic area, Hiking