Instead of the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (still closed due to continued flooding from Hurricane Irma), we’ll be birding the West Trail of the Newnans Lake State Forest, specifically the weedy sparrow field at the north end of the property. Recent trips have discovered remarkably large numbers of sparrows, up to nine species so far: Chipping, Field, Vesper, Savannah, Grasshopper, Song, Swamp, White-throated, and White-crowned. You can be sure that there are more to be found. If you want some practice with sparrows, this is the trip for you.
Directions: Drive east on University Avenue past Morningside Nature Center. About a mile past Morningside, State Road 26 curves left (while University continues straight to the shore of Newnans Lake). Stay on 26 for another mile and you’ll see the Newnans Lake State Forest sign on your LEFT. Make a left turn into the driveway and follow it to the parking corral. (There’s also a sign and a parking corral for the Pithlachocco Trailhead on the RIGHT side of the road. Don’t go there.) The official address is 1404 NE 55th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32641, but check the map for the accurate location.
Trip Difficulty: 2 (We’ll walk a forest trail and grassy service road about a third of a mile to the field, then just amble around in the weeds looking for birds. Total walking distance for the day will probably be around a mile and a half or two miles).