PIPELINE ROAD (WEST)

By Curtis Ross


Pipeline Road is a common name for the Pearl River Waterfowl Refuge. It is an excellent location offering many types of waterfowl in the Ross Barnett Reservoir on one side of the road, and woodland birds in the mixed trees on the other side of the road. You can find many birds just by driving down the road, and watching the trees, water, road, and sky; stopping whenever you want to get out and take a closer look. You can park on the side of the road at any place, and you don’t have to worry about traffic. Be sure to fill out a visitor card at the entrance to let the managers of the Refuge know that the Refuge is being used for birding.

SPECIALTY BIRDS

There is a pair of Bald Eagles nesting in the area, and on occasion you will see them flying over the Reservoir. The Osprey is another bird that you may see here. Pileated Woodpeckers are fairly common in the woods near the entrance. Least Bittern and King Rails may be seen.

Kayaking near Pipeline Rd. Photographs S Anding

SUMMER

Expected Birds

Common woodland species during the summer include Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Cardinal, Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Blue Jay, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, Orchard Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Prothonotary Warbler, Eastern Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Northern Parula, Black-and-white Warbler, Pine Warbler, Common YellowThroat, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Towhee. Birds that you would expect to see on the Reservoir side of the road include Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Anhinga, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Wood Duck, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Belted Kingfisher. Raptors include Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks.

Other Possible Birds

Other birds that you might see include Pileated Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Warbler, Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Least Bittern, King Rail, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl.

WINTER

Expected Birds

Common woodland species during the winter include Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, TuftedTitmouse, Cardinal, Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Blue Jay, Red-bellied, and Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Eastern Towhee. Birds that you would expect to see on the Reservoir side of the road include Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Bufflehead, Northern Shoveler, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Belted Kingfisher, Marsh Wren, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow. Raptors include Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel.

Other Possible Birds

Other birds that you might see include Brown Creeper, Common Snipe, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Common YellowThroat, Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, King Rail, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl.

SPRING MIGRATION

Expected Birds

Common woodland species during spring migration include American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Birds that you would expect to see on the Reservoir side of the road include Tree Swallow, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret.

The elusive King Rail and Purple Gallinule (above).

FALL MIGRATION

Expected Birds

Common woodland species during spring migration include Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler.

Other Possible Birds

Other birds that you might see include Nashville Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo, Warbling Vireo.

DIRECTIONS

From the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland, go north on the Trace about 10 miles and take the Highway 43 exit. Go east approximately 1.5 miles. On the left just before the Reservoir bridge is the entrance. Turn left onto the dirt road. This is the beginning of Pipeline Road.

From Highway 25 (Lakeland) in Jackson, go north on Highway 25 approximately 12.5 miles past the Castlewoods entrance. Take the Highway 43 exit, and go left (west) over Highway 25 approximately 4.5 miles. There is a sign for the Pearl River Waterfowl Refuge on the right immediately after you cross the Reservoir bridge. Turn right onto the dirt road. This is the beginning of Pipeline Road.

Don’t forget to fill out a visitor card at the entrance to let the managers of the Refuge know that the Refuge is being used for birding.


 

LAKE HARBOR ROAD

(Pipeline Road East)

Habitat here is similiar to Pipeline Road and some prefer Lake Harbor. From the Trace, Pass Pipeline Road and continue east on Hwy 43 another 2 miles, passing Tommy's Trading Post on the left. Turn LEFT at Lake Harbor Rd. A fire station will be on the right (reverse if coming from Hwy 25). Continue until road turns to gravel. This is a fair weather road and can be quite muddy at times. Gate at gravel section may be locked after hard rains to prevent ruts. Some maps show the gravel section as Pipeline East.

Observation and Boat Ramps

The Observation Facility (or Observation Deck) is located near the Turcotte Lab (turn in at sign for parking). Nearby on the other side of Hwy 43 is Brown's Landing, a boat ramp that can be checked out for birds. East of here, near the entrance to Pipeline Rd is a large fishing pier with parking. Across the Pearl River bridge is the Goshen Springs with more boat ramps. One is visible along 43 and the other is tucked away behind Safe Harbor Marina - follow road around.

 

Observation Facility at Pearl River Waterfowl Refuge in summer (see map). Area is flooded in early December for ducks. Pipeline Rd scene.

Webpage CR / SA 2009

Jackson Audubon