Prothonotary warbler, Sharon Milligan


Prothonotary Warbler

Photo by Sharon Milligan


  NEW! Updated MS Coastal Bird Checklist  for your next outing (revised October 2015).

NEW FALL 2016, for serious Mississippi Coast Birders!  Ned Boyajian's Annotated Checklist for Birding Coastal Mississippi.


For more information about MCAS please

call (601) 909-5383 (this number forwards to MCAS)




Mississippi Coast Audubon Society

Spring Saturday Field Trip Schedule 2017

Need more information? Contact us at
or text/call (601) 909-LETE, (601) 909-5383

All are welcome on our birding field trips!  Bring your own binoculars.  Some trips require preregistration – see details.  Other need no advance notice, but keep weather in mind.  Contact field trip leaders (addresses below) for more information if needed.

JANUARY Saturdays

1/28    Seaman Road Lagoons - Jackson County

            Leader: Sharon Milligan (228) 861-1622

One of our most popular field trip venues, not otherwise open to birders – always a great variety of birds.  Bring your binoculars, scope, refreshments, etc.

Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's, between 7:15 and 7:30am. 

Conditions: slow driving with stops. IMPORTANT: This is a working facility. You MUST stay with leaders while on site. Call Sharon (above) if you have questions about policy.

FEBRUARY Saturdays except where noted:

2/4      MCAS Field Trip - Grand Bay NERR SPARROW SWEEP, Jackson County

Leader: Mark Woodrey, (228) 697-0460

Henslow’s Sparrows will be our target species, also Swamp, Song, and LeConte’s Sparrows along with Sedge Wrens and other pine savanna birds. Join Grand Bay NERR and MCAS's Dr. Mark Woodrey and his students for a morning of sparrow searching, trapping, and banding. Learn about the different species of sparrows that winter in south Mississippi. Activities include field observation, pine savanna hiking, and mist netting observations.

Place and time: Meet at the Grand Bay Resources Center (6005 Bayou Heron Road, Moss Point, MS)(MAP) at 9:00 AM. This event will last until about noon.  NOTE: Participation will be limited to the first 50 registrants.  To register, contact Dennis McGrury, or 228-475-7047.

Conditions: Dress for the weather and wear either rubber boots (preferably) or shoes that can get wet. The ground in the savanna is extremely uneven, so watch your footing. Bring your binoculars, birding field guides, water, and bug spray.

SPECIAL BONUS:  Bone up on your sparrows & wrens with this preview guide! This field trip is co-sponsored by MCAS and Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.


2/10 (Friday) and 2/11(Sat)  Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, Jackson County

            MSCNWR Staff.  Pre-register: Janet Wright (601) 909-5383

Bird safari-style with the Crane Refuge’s own guides!   In addition to Mississippi Sandhill Cranes, we will be looking for grassland and other birds of the wet pine savanna, on Refuge lands not usually accessible to the public.  MCAS has TWO reserved time slots, Friday and Saturday morning.  Please come on Friday if you can, to leave the Saturday slot for worker bees.  ONLY 8 BIRDERS EACH DAY, so you must SIGN UP AHEAD – call or email Janet Wright (, 601-909-5383).

Place and time:  Meet at the Crane Refuge Visitor Center at 7200 Crane Lane, Gautier, MS (MAP) at 8:00am the morning of the tour (Friday Feb 10 or Sat Feb 11); come a few minutes early to use the restroom facilities, as the tour is 2 hours. Bring binoculars and field guides; there is room for one or two scopes.

Conditions:  Driving in Refuge van, but there may be opportunities to get out, so wear comfortable shoes that can get a little wet or muddy; wear layers for variable weather.



2/20 (Monday)  Annual Presidents Day Gull Run, Hancock and Harrison Counties.  

Leader: Joshua Hodge  601-765-5674

Join the Pine Woods Audubon chapter (Hattiesburg) for an exciting "Birding Along  the Coast" trip.  The group will start in Hancock County and move east until whenever.

Place and time: Meet at 8:30am at the Silver Slipper parking lot (MAP) in Bay St Louis. Please note Josh's contact information above so you can find the group if they have moved on ahead.  They would also like to know of any rare or uncommon birds anywhere along the Mississippi Coast to target.



2/25    MCAS BIRDATHON at Seaman Road Lagoons - Jackson County  and beyond!

            Leader: Mark Woodrey (228) 697-0460 for Birdathon, Sharon Milligan ( 228-861-1622 for Lagoons

            The MCAS BIRDATHON is our FIRST ANNUAL BIRDATHON FUNDRAISER.  Participants secure pledges of a donation for each bird species seen by the BIRDATHONer during the day.  To stack the deck, we will begin at Seaman Road Lagoons, not otherwise open to birders – always a great variety of birds.  Details of the BIRDATHON coming soon, but this field trip is open to BIRDATHONers and others alike.  

Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's, between 7:15 and 7:30am. 

Conditions: slow driving with stops. IMPORTANT: This is a working facility. You MUST stay with leaders while on site. Call Sharon (above) if you have questions about policy.



3/5   SUNDAY The Art of Birds:  Bird Drawing Workshop  [**** NOTE DATE AND TIME CHANGE!!!]    

Leader:  Jason Pyron

Are you looking for a unique way to connect with nature?  Drawing birds has increased in popularity recently as a way for birders to improve their knowledge and understanding of bird anatomy and bird identification.


MCAS presents a Bird Drawing workshop with bird artist Kristina Knowski.  This 2-hour workshop will feature hands-on instruction for drawing birds.  Participants will learn the basic elements of bird drawing, and how to combine those elements into quick field sketches or more detailed drawings.  We will focus on creating original artwork by observing mounted specimens, photographs, and live birds. You’ll explore your creative side with the help of professional artists, work with high-quality materials, and learn fun facts about native and migrating songbird species of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.   

There is a $20 fee for the class (cash at the door) which includes class materials and refreshments.  Class size is limited so please e-mail to reserve your spot.   There will be two sessions: 12-2 pm and 3-5 pm. Please specify which session you wish to attend.

Place : Mississippi Coastal Research & Extension Center (CREC)(MAP).


About the Instructor: Kristina Knowski is an artist and birder living in Duneland, Indiana. She graduated Valedictorian from the American Academy of Art and has taught numerous bird drawing and painting workshops for the Indiana State Park system. Her work focus is on both extant and extinct avifauna. You can view her portfolio at and


3/11    Oak Crest Mansion, Harrison County

Leader: Jason Pyron

This will be MCAS’s first birding trip to Oak Crest Mansion.  The Mansion was built in 1920 and is located in Pass Christian on 12 acres of property that borders Bayou Portage.  Numerous live oak, magnolia, and water oaks create plenty of opportunities for viewing winter, migratory, and year round resident songbirds and raptors.  The property has several locations that overlook the bayou and allow for viewing opportunities for waterfowl and wading birds.

Place and time: Oak Crest Mansion, 5267 Menge Avenue, Pass Christian (MAP), 7:30am.  Parking is available.

Conditions: Easy walking.  Bring water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen.


3/18    McLeod State Park, Hancock County

            Leader: Joe Pettigrew (  (228) 493-8733

Wooded trail through mixed hardwood forest and bayhead swamp, with views of the Jourdan River for water birds.  Varied habitat with such species as Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper, Golden-Crowned Kinglet not easily seen elsewhere.  This site is on the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail

Place and time: Meet at the Hancock High School parking lot near the access road at 7:30am.

(Take exit 13. Proceed north on MS 603/43 for 1.3 miles. Take a left onto Stennis Airport Rd.

Go 0.8 miles and High School will be on the right; MAP)

Conditions:  2.5 mile walking trail.


3/25    Beauvoir, Harrison County

            Leader:  Holly Cox (228) 432-8828

Holly Cox and a MCAS group have been surveying the grounds of this beautiful estate for a brochure, “Birds of Beauvoir.”  Many classic Southern species are here year-round, and we may see some migrants, too.  LIMIT OF 25 PARTICIPANTS – To save a place, pre-register with Holly at  There is a grounds fee of $5.50 payable on entry, but you can elect to pay $7.50 and do the full tour of the mansion after birding (a big savings compared to the $12.50 door price). 

Place and time: Beauvoir parking lot off Hwy 90 (MAP), 7:30am

Conditions:  Easy walking.



APRIL Saturdays:

4/1      Dauphin Island, Alabama      

Leader: Don McKee (228) 238-2473 and others

The coast’s premier migrant trap, always a hotspot in spring – twenty-five species of warblers have been seen here the first week of April in past years, so prepare for some gems.  

Place and time:  Cadillac Square, 661 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL (MAP), 7:30 -8:00am.

Conditions: Some walking, lots of observing from fixed points.


4/8      Ship Island, Harrison County

Leader: Libby Graves (228) 860-1966

Join Ship Island Excursions for a trip to the barrier islands! Birds -Piping, Snowy, Wilson's Plovers good possibilities; Red Knot and/or one of the rarer gulls not unreasonable. Depending on weather could be a variety of early migrants.

Place and time: Meet at Gulfport Harbor around 8:30am Ship Island Excursions dock (MAP) to board the boat which departs at 9am.  Ship Island Excursions, Gulfport, MS Ticket prices:  Adult $29, Senior $27. for more information.

Conditions: Birding near fort and swim beach, then walking up to  ~5 miles on beach, but participants can opt out or shortcut at any point.

NOTE: Alternate day Sunday, Apr 9, 2017 if cancelled due to weather

4/15     Ansley Preserve, Hancock County

Leader: Ned Boyajian (601) 749-9110

Coastal chenier migrant trap. This site is part of the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail; more information at

Place and time: NOTE THIS CHANGE in meeting place:  Meet at Ansley preserve parking lot (MAP),  between 7:15 and 7:30am. (Driving directions: From Hwy 90 in Waveland, south on Lower Bay Road 71/2 miles to Heron Bay Road. Left onto Heron Bay Road ca. 2 1/2 miles to Preserve)

Conditions: alternating short walks with short drives. Biting bugs may be present. Most walking areas should be dry.

4/22    Boneyard Bayou Rookery – KAYAK trip, Jackson County

Leader: Larry Dees (228) 235-9764

Birds that can be expected: nesting warblers, vireos, nesting wading birds including White Ibis, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret. Spectacular heronry; variety of marsh-oriented birds.  By kayaking in, we can get the best views of the nesting rookery. 

Place and time:  Meet at the Chevron Station in Wade at the corner of Hwy 63 and 614 (MAP) at 5:45am (early hour to give time to launch and see the rookery at its best).

Special instructions: Bring your own kayak or small boat, life vest, bug repellent, water, snacks, etc.  You must also have a Wildlife Management Area User permit.  Season and day permits are sold at WalMart (see WMA User Permit here, or ask about a day permit or a Senior Exempt License).


4/29    DeSoto Forest Red-Cockaded Woodpecker site, Harrison County

            Leader:  Gerry Morgan (228) 239-6787

            We’ll be hunting the iconic Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW), along with other nesting birds of what used to be the South’s most widespread habitat, the pine savanna: Pine and Prairie Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Brown-headed Nuthatch, flycatchers and the elusive Bachman’s Sparrow.  Great chance to learn bird songs!

            Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's, 6:45am (if you are coming from the north, contact Gerry about going directly to the RCW site).

            Conditions: Driving on paved road, with stops and brief walks into habitat.



5/6      Seaman Road Lagoons, Jackson County 

            Leader: Sharon Milligan (+2) (228) 861-1622

Last chance at this amazing hotspot (not normally open to birders) for the spring. Bring your binoculars, scope, refreshments, etc.

Place and time: Meet at the park and ride at I-10 exit 50, Ocean Springs next to Denny's, between 7:15 and 7:30 AM. 

Conditions: slow driving with stops. IMPORTANT: This is a working facility. You MUST stay with leaders while on site. Call Sharon (above) if you have questions about policy.


5/13    Pascagoula River Birding Boat Tour, Jackson County          

Join McCoys River & Marsh Tours at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center for a custom bird tour of the Pascagoula River! Benny McCoy knows every detail of marsh and bottomland forest and will make this a memorable trip for us.  We hope to find secretive marsh birds such as bitterns and rails in addition to the more conspicuous species.

Place and time:  Pascagoula River Audubon Center, 5107 Arthur Street, Moss Point (MAP), 7:00am. 

NOTE: Space is limited, there is a fee of $30 per person (cash or credit at boat), and you MUST REGISTER ahead.  Reserve a spot with Erin Parker (, (228) 475-0825 ext. 2).  WEATHER DATE in case of cancellation is 5/27.



5/20    Tern nesting colonies, Harrison County

            Leader: Rhonda Plitt (601) 916-2457 and Sally Puent (

Mississippi beaches are primary nesting sites for Least Terns, Black Skimmers, and other coastal birds.  We will observe and identify nesting behaviors, nests and eggs of terns and skimmers, and learn what stewards will be doing through the spring and summer to guard nests and chicks at colony sites.

Place and time: Meet at the parking lot at Courthouse Rd and Beach Boulevard in Gulfport  (MAP) at 7:00am.  We will drive from there to several colonies.

Conditions:  Driving, with short walks on beach.  Wear sunscreen and bring water.  Good opportunity for spotting scopes.


5/27    Weather date for 5/13 Pascagoula River Birding Boat Tour




 See you in the field!

MORE ABOUT Mississippi Coast Audubon Society:

We are a chapter of the National Audubon Society, with membership territory in the six coastal counties of Mississippi (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, George, Stone, and Pearl River).  You can JOIN National Audubon with a $20 or greater donation, and become a member of MCAS for free (what a deal!) by clicking HERE (the membership form specifies chapter M53 - that's us).

  MCAS Constitution and Bylaws


  Look!  Sign up for our email conversation list,  eskimmer