By Will Cook
Overview: One of the places you must stop whenever you visit Jordan Lake, with an expansive view of the lake to the east and west of the bridge, plus some good land birding spots. One of the best places to look for birds blown in by hurricanes.
Getting there: From US 64, take Farrington Road (1008) north 4.4 miles to the bridge over Jordan Lake. The Farrington Road intersection is just east of the lake at the Wilsonville stoplight. Park along the causeway wherever gives you the best vantage point.
Coordinates for Google Earth/Maps: 35 47 40.5 N, 79 00 39 W (bridge)
35 47 56 N, 79 01 04.5 W (boat ramps)
Where to go: Stop and scan at several spots along the long causeway. Watch out for potholes. Walk underneath the bridge if you want to see nesting Cliff Swallows. At the north end of the causeway, be sure to look for an old section of roadbed in the water. This is one of the first areas where you might find a shorebird or egret, as the water level drops due to summer droughts. The roadbed area, oddly, has had a Common Merganser or two in the summer! After you've checked the causeway, continue north and turn left into the Farrington Point Boat Ramps area (5.0 miles north of 64). There are two parking lots -- be sure to park in one of the designated parking spots unless you want a ticket. There are three short trails to explore. One trail starts on Farrington Road opposite where you turned in. It goes a short distance to the base of the causeway. Another trail is just on your right as you come in. It goes a short distance through mixed forest. The third and best trail is also on the right as you come in, shortly after the one above. It passes through a mixture of woods and open areas and ends up in a field at the lake shore. Retrace your steps on all three trails to return.
What to look for: Cliff Swallows, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles are common sights in summer. Caspian Terns are often seen in migration. Check the bushes along the causeway for migrant warblers and sparrows. Check the old roadbed for shorebirds, waders, and the Common Merg. All three of the short trails can be great for migrant passerines, and the third trail is good for sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, and other field birds. The marsh at the end is one of the best spots to hope for rails at Jordan. The list of birds seen in the Farrington Point area is very long, and includes many stellar rarities, such as Red-necked Grebe, Leach's and White-faced Storm-Petrels, Little Gull, Black Rail, Dickcissel, and Yellow-headed Blackbird.
When to visit: All year (bridge); Fall-Spring (trails).
Revised 12/29/2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
Triangle Birder's Guide home | Chatham/Jordan Lake | Durham/Falls Lake | Orange | Wake