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Birding on Dauphin Island

Historic Fort Gaines

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Sand Island Light

Shell Mounds

Town of Dauphin Island-Municipal Government








Dauphin Island, AL
Archive of Historical Data, Books, Maps
And Other Materials

Neo-tropical Migrant Birds

Shell Mound Park on Dauphin Island, Alabama

Mossy Oak At the Shell MoundsGiant moss-draped live oaks, such as the giant in the photo at left, are abundant throughout the Park. This tree is estimated to be approximately 800 years old, and would have been a mature oak when the Spaniards first visited the shores of Dauphin Island in 1519.

The Shell Mounds and Dauphin Island in general are renowned "hot-spots" for observing neotropical migrant birds, and attract birders from around the U.S. each spring and fall.
Shell Mound Park Nature Trail
Indian Shell Mound Park, located on the northern shore of Dauphin Island, is maintained and administered by Alabama Marine Resources Division. The eleven acres of the park are a botanical treasure-trove found on no other Gulf barrier island.
Several plant species occurring here are representatives of families found as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains and from as far south as Yucatan state, Mexico. Many were probably transported here by Indian groups hundreds of years ago for medicinal and culinary purposes.

American Redstart Male
American Redstart (male)


The Spring Neo-tropical Migration (March through May), is my favorite time at the Shell Mound Park. When conditions are right, the migrants are so exhausted from the long flight across the Gulf from the Yucatan in Mexico, that they literally ‘fall-out’ at the first point of land they reach. Whenever this fantastic event occurs, the Shell Mound Park is the Place to be!
The ancient live oaks provide the insects and cover that the neotropical migrants depend on at their first landfall. It is common to see 20 species of warblers here on a good day.

Prothonotary Warbler Rose-breasted Grosbeak Great Crested Flycatcher
Prothonotary Warbler Rose-breasted Grosbeak Great Crested Flycatcher
Indigo Bunting Summer Tanager Eastern Towhee
Indigo Bunting Summer Tanager Eastern Towhee

Orchard Oriole Black and White Warbler Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Orchard Oriole Black and White Warbler Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Baltimore Oriole Magnolia Warbler Scarlet Tanager
Baltimore Oriole Magnolia Warbler Scarlet Tanager

The pictures above are but a small sample of the species you can encounter as you stroll along the pathways of the park.
Including many beautiful Butterfly species.

Monarch Red Admiral Spicebush Swallowtail
Monarch Red Admiral Spicebush Swallowtail

For those who are not birders, the shaded trails of the park make an excellent place to seek shelter from the hot sun of the beaches, to walk, meditate, or simply relax on one of several benches and enjoy nature, surrounded by a spiritual aura that has drawn people to the spot since long before the arrival of Europeans.

Google Map to Shell Mound Park







Detail map by Dave Switzer


All photographs on this page ©2006 Dave Switzer
To see more of Dave's Photographs visit his web site at: http://www.sailnokoni.com



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