Do you enjoy grabbing a pair of high-powered binoculars and whiling away the weekend bird watching? My family sure does. However, we tend to incorporate it into a hiking and camping trip as well. One state that we have visited over the years to do all three is Kentucky. The state is home to many birding hot spots, including some that are located within a park setting. With that said, here are my selections for a handful of the best sites:
Barren River Lake
One state park that my crew has enjoyed visiting is Barren County’s Barren River Lake Resort. As you may have assumed, it features an expansive tract of land and a large lake. Thus, you are apt to encounter a vast array of birds throughout the year. Depending on when you opt to visit, you may find yourself face to beak with a sand hill crane. They tend to congregate in the area’s corn fields and mud flats during the colder months. If you do decide to go, I’d suggest taking the Connell Nature Trail. It’s about 1-mile long, looped and suitable for novice hikers. Overnight accommodations and dining opportunities are available onsite.
Calloway County’s Kenlake State Resort Park is another bird watching destination to consider visiting. What I love about the park is that the staff makes it so easy to catch site of a bird. They do that by setting up a bevy of bird feeders and offering guided tours. Although superlative viewing opportunities exist year-round, you may want to consider stopping by in the winter when the eagles are active. I find it an ideal way to get in a little cold weather exercise and wildlife watching all in one shot. If you opt for a warm weather visit, I’d suggest being on the lookout for bluebirds instead.
Speaking of eagles, Spencer County’s Taylorsville Lake is a phenomenal spot to visit too. You may opt to watch the eagles by boat or by land. There are also other birds known to frequent the area as well. The hawks are some of my favorites because they remind me of home. Based on my family’s experience, I’d suggest taking the park’s hiking trail and stopping by the Van Buren Boat Ramp. Both tend to be productive viewing spots as long as you bring along your binoculars.
If you are more into hummingbirds than cranes and eagles, I’d recommend scheduling a trip to Lawrence County’s Yatesville Lake instead. In the process, consider reserving a boat-in campsite at the same time. It’s likely to cost you around $14 a night and provide excellent glimpses of owls, woodpeckers and Whip-Por Wils. Limited boat rentals are available onsite too. However, I’d recommend bringing your own vessel. Doing so will allow you to bird watch without having to worry about returning to home base at a particular time.
Source: Personal Experience