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Autumn Bird Watching Along the Natchez Trace

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Migrating birds signal the start of hunting season. But if you’re not a sportsman, you can delight in observing waterfowl as they travel south for the winter. Point your rig toward Natchez, Mississippi for phenomenal birding at the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Located on the Mississippi River just south of Natchez, the refuge includes 24,442 acres of wilderness habitat for migratory waterfowl along the Mississippi Flyway.

Cypress swamps and hardwood forests of oak, gum, elm, ash, cottonwood and pine provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. You’ll see shorebirds, wading birds and other aquatic species in the wet habitat created by the meandering Mississippi River. Bald eagles also nest here for winter, so keep your eyes peeled for sightings of our national bird!

If you’re coming from the north, stay overnight at Springridge RV Park/Mobile Home Estates in the town of Clinton before you head south for the wildlife refuge. This Good Sam Park offers free WiFi/cable and an off-leash doggie park. It features easy access to I-20 and is close to museums and historic Jackson.

Follow the Natchez Trace Parkway to get from Clinton to Natchez. This tree-shrouded scenic route takes you past Civil War battlefield memorials and historic Natchez and Chickasaw tribal sites.

Once in Natchez you’ll be treated to the largest group of antebellum homes in the South. This city on a bluff above the Mississippi River was once an important trading center for King Cotton. Many of the stately white-pillared mansions built by wealthy merchants are open for daily tours. Although it’s not your typical “attraction,” don’t miss the Natchez City Cemetery. The magnificent marble headstones and intricate ironwork honor the city’s eminent 19th-century families interred here.

Whatever you choose to do during your visit, you’ll get your fill of Southern hospitality in Natchez. For visitor information, go to www.visitnatchez.org.


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