Birding Old St. Stephens
Old St. Stephens Historical Park in northeastern Washington County, Alabama is one of our favorite locales to bird. No matter what the season, the park always produces at least one avian surprise.
Marsh at the west end of the old limestone quarry, the main lake is in the background
Directions: From US Highway 43 at Leroy, go west on Washington County Road 34 for 6.2 miles, then right on St. Stephens Fork Road for 0.1 mile, then right on Cement Plant Road for 0.6 miles, then right on St. Stephens Park Road for 0.2 miles to the Old St. Stephens Historical Park gate house, then continue on St. Stephens Park Road for 1.1 miles to the entrance to the historical site is on the right and picnic pavilions and parking are immediately ahead.
Description: A variety of habitats are contained in this +600-acre park. Mixed loblolly pine and hardwood forest occurs on hills west of the old quarry and within the archaeological site. Park at the picnic pavilion and bird this upland habitat. Then descend toward the old quarry floor, but be sure to check the mature hardwoods around the Indian Baths on the way. When you reach the old quarry floor, park at the store. Eastern red cedar covers parts of the old quarry site and there are large areas of lawn around the store and camping facilities. Extensive marsh in the east and southwest parts of the old quarry, now lake, and cypress swamp southwest of the old quarry will be of particular interest to birders. Shore birds observed on the margins of the lake include Least Bittern, Sora, Common Moorhen, Least and Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, and Killdeer. Osprey, Mississippi Kite, and Red-shouldered Hawk are frequently observed around the quarry lake and Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated, Pine, Prothonotary, and Hooded Warblers, American Redstart and Common Yellowthroat breed within the park. Spring and fall bring a wide variety of Neotropical migrants and occasional flocks of American White Pelicans. Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Chipping, Savannah, Song, Swamp, and White-throated Sparrows are common winter residents.
The park is also home to White-tailed Deer and the Gopher Tortoise.
Site 1 Access: $2 for adults, $1 for children over 5, $8/night tent camping, $16/night RV
GPS Coordinates: N 31° 33.068’ / W 88° 03.058’ (Gate house), N 31° 33.573’ / W88° 02.072’ (Camp store)
Contact: St. Stephens State Historical Site
2056 Old St. Stephens Rd.
St. Stephens, AL 36569
Phone: 251-247-2622 (Camp Store)
Amenities: Restrooms, Handicap access, Potable water, Food (store), Parking, Camping (RV hook-ups), Canoeing (kayak rentals), Boat access (public boat ramp on Tombigbee River), Fishing, Picnic areas, Hiking Trails, Horseback riding.