Bird Habitats and Birdwatching

Habitat creation to attract birds to the Sanctuary is an integral piece to the success of the project. These habitats will supplement the attraction of the swallow roost, by creating a naturalist setting and improving the attractiveness of the lake shore. A variety of habitats, through the use of vegetation and mud flats, will be created along the existing lake shore to attract shore and migratory birds. The habitats will include both fresh water and brackish water areas created by impoundment within the lake. Access to the habitats will be limited to designated trails and blinds.

Freshwater Lagoon Habitat - 5 to 6 acres. Created within protected impoundment. Fresh water supply from well. Vegetation types will range from submergent and emergent along the waters edge to bottomland species along the impoundments. Impoundments will protect from wave scour.

Brackish Marsh Habitat - 18 to 20 acres. Created with dredged lake bottom material within protected breakwaters. Openings in breakwaters will allow for tidal flow within the habitat. Habitat will include shallow bay waters, shell beaches, mud flats, intertidal vegetation, upper beach vegetation, and dry land vegetation. The upper beach and dry land vegetation will be used to form a screen between the existing linear park trail and the habitats. Access to the habitat area will be via trails from the Sanctuary visitor's center.

Purple Martin Houses - There will be 18 to 20 prefabricated multi-story purple martin houses, each with 12 to 24 nest cavities.

Humming Bird Habitat - There will be a humming bird garden with the appropriate habitats and feeders that will attract the migratory humming birds. Many of them already use the Causeway on their north/south journey across the lake.

Swallow Roost Viewing Area - The swallow roost viewing area would be on top of the impoundments that enclose and protect the habitats at an elevation of 4 to 5 feet above mean lake level. The viewing areas would also be a part of a loop walkway system that would start at the visitor center and extend through parts of fresh water and brackish water habitats, then go past the edge of the lake where the roosting areas can be seen and return to the visitor's center.

Shore Bird Blinds - Blinds to view shore birds within the habitats will be accessed from a main trail coming from the Sanctuary visitor's center. The blinds will be on raised wood platforms or paved areas on the bank.

Butterfly Habitat - There will be a butterfly garden with the appropriate habitats and vegetation to attract butterflies. They also use the Causeway bridge for their lake crossings.

Walkways - Access walkways to view the roosting areas and shore birds habitats will be a combination of board walks and breakwaters. Portions of the existing linear park trail and Causeway bulkheads can also be used as means of access.