Delta Wind Birds is offering a free, guided nature walk and paddle at Sky Lake in Humphreys County on Saturday, April 10.
At 9:00 a.m., we’ll meet at the Sky Lake Boardwalk for a guided nature walk among the ancient (1000+-year-old) bald cypress trees. DWB board member Ann Tanner, who grew up here at Sky Lake, will help lead this trip. Along the 1/2-mile boardwalk, we’ll talk and learn about the plants, birds, and other wildlife that make the cypress swamp special. We’ll also get close-up looks at some of the oldest trees in the eastern United States. Prothonotary Warblers, our favorite golden birds of the cypress swamp, should be back on territory, after spending their winter in South America. The Sky Lake WMA Boardwalk is located at 1090 Simmons Rd., Belzoni, MS 39038, and can be found on mapping apps (Google Maps link). From Belzoni, drive north on Hwy 7 for 6.5 miles and turn left on Four Mile Rd (follow signs for the Sky Lake Boardwalk). Drive west on 4 Mile Rd for less than a mile, turn left and drive 0.2 miles, then turn right and drive less than a mile—the Sky Lake Boardwalk parking lot will be on your right. The Sky Lake Boardwalk has spacious parking, restrooms, and a covered picnic area. This portion of the trip is wheelchair accessible.
At 10:00 a.m., after the first nature walk, we’ll gather in the Sky Lake Boardwalk parking lot (follow directions above to get there) before driving together to the DWB Sky Lake Nature Reserve on the other side of Sky Lake, where we’ll have two options for continuing participants:
Option 1: A paddling (canoe/kayak) tour of the DWB Sky Lake Nature Reserve and adjacent waters of the Sky Lake WMA. We’ll check whether Prothonotary Warblers are exploring the new nest boxes we erected this winter, and we are likely to observe other nesting and migrating birds using the oxbow lake and surrounding forest habitats. Bring your own lunch to eat on the water. If you want to paddle, but need to borrow or rent a canoe or kayak, please e-mail us in advance to discuss options ([email protected]). If you bring your own canoe or kayak, be sure to also bring (and plan to wear) a life jacket. Bathrooms are not available at this stop (but you can find a spot in the woods).
Option 2: After perhaps a brief walking tour of the DWB Sky Lake Nature Reserve (which may be largely under water), some of us (the non-paddlers) will head just down the road for a birding and botany tour of the nearby Four Winds Refuge, a private former catfish farm where DWB helps the current landowners create habitat for migratory water birds. This unique property contains a large mosaic of natural wetlands and impoundments, and is teeming with a diversity of wetland birds, other wildlife, and unique plants. Bring your own lunch to eat on the go. A bathroom is available at this stop.
Rain-out date: If the trip is canceled due to inclement weather, our preferred option will be to re-schedule for Sunday, April 11th.
The trip is free, but everyone is asked to register in advance so they will know how many to expect. Visit https://www.deltawindbirds.org/events for more information or to register.