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Cheatham Lake WMA

Birding Seasons:
Spring A
Summer B
Fall A
Winter B

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Site Description and Habitats

Cheatham Lake is a large body of open water, with various sloughs and marshes connecting to the main water body. Pine and hardwood forests are on higher ground and accessible via roads. Cheatham WMA consists of primarily upland hardwood forests with some pine stands present. There are also open fields, scrub shrub, and food plots where wildlife may congregate. In addition to the sites listed above, there are other units of Cheatham Lake WMA.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: A variety of warblers and vireos may be found. Shorebirds could be around if areas have habitat and are accessible.

Summer: Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Parula, Orchard Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, and Indigo Bunting.

Winter: Numerous waterfowl including Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, and Green-winged Teal. Gulls, primarily Ring-billed, can be common.

Year-Round: Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron, and resident woodland birds.

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer - Dyson Ditch Refuge

There is not a hotspot for the WMA proper.

Submit your data to eBird here

Detailed directions for birding Cheatham Lake WMA area
From junction of Hwy 12 and Hwy 49 in Ashland City.

Hudgen's Slough: Travel southwest on Hwy 49 for 2.4 miles and turn right at the Bluff Creek Launching Ramp site.

Dyson Ditch: Go north on Hwy 12 for 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Chapmansboro Road at the Sycamore Creek Recreation Area sign. Go straight and continue over the bridge and stay right on Chapmansboro Road for 4.6 miles and turn into parking area at Cheatham Reservoir WMA sign.

Cheatham Dam: Take Hwy 12 north 7.4 miles and turn left on Cheatham Dam Road. From here, travel 4.5 miles to the lock and dam.

Cheatham Lake WMA Map
Pardue Pond and Dyson Ditch Refuge maps

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Bluff Creek Launching Ramp site: 36.281195, -87.10159
Dyson's Ditch Refuge: 36.1845, -87.0930
Cheatham Lake: 36.1912, -87.1321

Fees and Hours
Daylight hours, some access points are 6am to 10pm. Dyson Ditch and Pardue Pond are closed to all forms of trespass from 15 November through last day of February.

tips for safely watching wildlife during hunting seasons and year round please refer to TWRA Hunting Guide about hunting seasons and public access dates.

There are no restroom facilities for designated birding observation areas.

TWRA Region II office
Ellington Agricultural Center
P.O. Box 41489, Nashville, TN 37204
615-781-6622 or 1-800-624-7406

Info for other sites
Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife web site