A part of the Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail, the Sportplex is an interesting combination of attractively wooded grounds surrounding athletic fields and open parking areas. There are hiking trails that originate from the rear corner of a large parking lot on Arena Drive. The understory is quite open through much of the property, and sight lines into the trees are very good – this should be a highly-productive stop for migrant songbirds in spring and fall migration.
There is ample understory and midstory cover toward the back (southwest) portion of the Sportplex. This offers habitat for Indigo Buntings, Yellow-breasted Chats, Field Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, and the like in the warmer months, Kinglets, Winter Sparrows, juncos, and Palm and Orange-crowned warblers in the colder months. Multitudes of Brown-headed Nuthatches and Pine Warblers prowl the pines all year. The open athletic fields should produce Killdeer in all seasons, and American Kestrels are most likely from September through March. Look for Eastern Meadowlarks here, too. Watch for Loggerhead Shrikes, particularly near the fencing around the ball fields. It is possible to find almost any raptor here, with Red-tailed Hawks and Barred Owls most likely. Both vultures, Mississippi Kites, Broad-winged (April to September) and Red-shouldered hawks can be found soaring above the Sportplex, as well. Cooper’s Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks (mostly winter) chase songbirds in the more open woodlands, and this is a good site for Great Horned Owls. The hiking trails are populated by the common woodland birds of the region (Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, etc., throughout the year, and are joined by Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Winter and House wrens, Purple Finches, and their ilk from late September through April.
From the intersection of US 280 and AL 22 in Alexander City (Tallapoosa County), (restaurants, service stations, motels, shopping along US 280 and in Alexander City) follow AL 22 west for .6 mile, and turn left at the sign for the Sportplex.
1685 Arena Rd.
Alexander City, AL 35010
Admission Fee: Free, unless otherwise noted