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Long Hunter State Park

Birding Seasons:
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Summer A
Fall A
Winter B

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Site Description and Habitats

This park consists of 30 miles of shoreline along J. Percy Priest Lake. A two-mile paved loop goes through cedar glade and hardwood forests surrounding Couchville Lake. Many hiking trails, other than Couchville Lake, are present at other access points.

At the Bryant Grove Area access at Long Hunter State Park a mountain bike trail is available which is open to hikers (use caution) and the area is one of the best examples of remaining cedar glade habitat in middle Tennessee. From the parking area at the Bryant Grove Area, users can access a one way, 4 mile trail through cedar glades and forest. Going past the mountain bike area, travel to the dead end and picnic area with restroom facilities. Scan the lake here for waterbirds.

Obtain a map from the visitor's center and visit other access points from surrounding areas.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Warblers, vireos, and thrushes can be common. Broad-winged Hawks may be seen migrating north. Double-crested Cormorants are common on Percy-Priest Lake nearly year round (rare in winter).

Summer: Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Summer Tanager are common nesting birds. Lark Sparrow is possible in the cedar glades. Chuck-wills-widow, Whip-poor-will and Common Nighthawk can be found, esp. at the Bryant Grove area. Osprey, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Prairie Warbler. Purple Martins nest in condos at the building on Couchville Lake. The area excellent for all three nightjars, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Chuck-wills-widow, and Common Nighthawk, with the Whip being the toughest to find. Eastern Screech owls are everywhere as well.

Winter: Common Loon, Pied-billed and Horned Grebe, Ring-billed and Bonaparte’s Gulls (on Percy Priest)

Year-Round: Bald Eagle nest in the area. Black Vultures can be abundant at Couchville Lake.

Species list via eBird HotSpot Explorer
- State Park

Species list via eBird HotSpot Explorer - Couchville Lake

Submit your data to eBird here.

Detailed directions for birding Long Hunter State Park

From I-40 east of Nashville, take exit 226A and travel 6.7 miles south on Hwy 171. Turn left into the park entrance. Visitors center on your immediate right. If coming from I-24 south of Nashville, take exit 62 (Old Hickory Blvd) and travel 7 miles north on Hwy 171 to park entrance.

Obtain a park map and explore the two mile trail around Couchville Lake. The lake has a nice paved trail and goes through some mature forest along the lake shore. The woods are rarely very birdy any time of the year, but some nice birds can be found insummer, including Kentucky Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, and Summer Tanager. In winter, Couchville lake is excellent for Hooded Mergansers, with occasional Red-breasted and Common being found. LARGE numbers of Black Vultures can be found year round.

The Bryant Grove area has a 4 mile mountain bike trail that can be hiked with caution. This is a great area for early successional habiat specialists like Chuck-wills-widow, Prairie Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Field Sparrow, plus Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, among others. The lake acces/beach at the end of the road is best in fall through spring when birds are around and people are fewer.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Headquarters: 36.09256, -86.55549
Couchville Lake: 36.094685, -86.543097
Bryant Grove Area- mountain bike trail parking lot: 36.075083, -86.50957

Fees and Hours
Park is open 7:00am to sunset year round and there are no entrance fees.

Restrooms available. Boating, camping, seasonal events.

Long Hunter State Park
2910 Hobson Pike, Hermitage, TN 37076

Info for other sites
Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife web site