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Gateway Island Ponds

Site Directions: From I-24 - Take Exit 76 and travel east onto Medical Center Parkway.  Travel 1.8 miles on Medical Center Parkway and turn left onto Thompson Lane.

Go 0.5 miles on Thompson Lane and turn right on Gateway Blvd. In 100m or so, make the first left onto Garrison Dr.

Pull into the parking lot on your right in 0.3 miles at a big medical office building and park at the far side of the lot, closest to a narrow tree line.

Lat-Long: 35.865822,-86.422139, the parking lot at the western end of the ponds

Lat-Long: 35.863487,-86.419407, gravel parking area on the east side by the overgrown large dirt pile.

Hours: daylight hours

Seasonality: year-round

Fees: none

Site Description: The area has a mix of ponds and overgrown grassy areas.  The ponds are often full, but on occasion, the water drains through the soil and mudflats are present. There are a couple of large dirt piles leftover from construction that is overgrown with grasses, pokeweed, etc. and are very birdy.

Wildlife to Watch: The ponds occasionally have decent waterfowl, including Ross’s Goose.

When the water is low, shorebirds are present (in season). Willets, Short-billed Dowitcher, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, in addition to Least, Western, Spotted, and Solitary Sandpipers have been present. Killdeer are omnipresent in the area.

The grassy fields often have Eastern MeadowlarksRed-tailed Hawks are regular, as are Cooper’s Hawks.

Belted Kingfishers have several active burrows in the tall dirt piles. Eastern Kingbirds are often very cooperative in spring through early fall.

In fall through spring, the overgrown dirt piles and adjacent grassy areas are very good for sparrows.  Lincoln’s, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Song, Field, and Savannah sparrows have been found.

In migration, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers may be found.

Early morning is best for birding this site.

NOTE:  Some areas are used for recreational purposes.  Please use these links before visiting the location.

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