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Thorny Cypress WMA

Birding Seasons:
Spring A
Summer B
Fall A
Winter A+

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Site Description and Habitats:

The WMA consists of young hardwood reforestation, which is currently more like grassland (2013). Several shallow water ponds are managed for waterfowl (north and south of I-155). An oxbow lake is found on the east side of the WMA on the unit north of I-155. Mature hardwood forest and edges are present in many areas.

Bird species of interest:

Spring and Fall Migration: Shorebirds including Pectoral Sandpipers, both yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, passage migrant warblers and vireos, raptors and wading birds including Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, and Snowy Egret. Blue-winged Teal may be present in spring and early fall, if habitat is available.

Summer: Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat, Field Sparrow, White-eyed Vireo, among other breeding birds. Mississippi Kite can be abundant in summer. Northern Bobwhite is possible.

Winter: Short-eared Owls, Northern Harrier, grassland birds including Fox, Field, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Song and LeConte's Sparrows, Bald Eagles, and a variety of waterfowl including Mallard, American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and Wood Duck.

Year-Round: Loggerhead Shrikes, Red-tailed Hawks

Rarities Seen at this Site: Whimbrel

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

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Other wildlife viewing opportunities
White-tailed deer

Detailed directions for birding Thorny Cypress WMA:
From Dyersburg at the intersection of Hwy 104 and Hwy 55, travel west on Hwy 104 for 9.2 miles to Yarbro Rd. Make a right onto Yarbro and the WMA is on both sides of the road. There's a wife pull off on the sides of the roads, which can be used to scan the ponds and fields. Travel north on Yarbro Rd to the "T" and all the old fields and area on the north side of Boothspoint Rd is WMA. Turn right to access more old fields, an oxbox lake, and a main entrance into the WMA, which may have waterfowl and shorebird habitat in season. Backtracking towards the Great River Rd (the Mississippi River levee), the old fields on the right are part of the WMA and good for sparrows and harriers in winter and Loggerhead Shrikes year round.

The field and grassy edges are great places to look for wintering sparrows. Short-eared Owls may be present at dawn and dust in grassy areas and ditches. A large number of waterfowl may be present in winter on the shallow ponds managed for waterfowl and in the oxbow lake.

White Lake Refuge is adjacent to Thorny Cypress WMA to the north and is worth exploring for wading birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates:
Parking/pull off on Yarbro Rd, just north of Hwy 103: 36.057287, -89.572159
Access road into north unit of the WMA (north of I-155 and adjacent to White Lake Refuge): 36.097626, -89.559368
Oxbow lake and old fields: 36.091748, -89.54053

Thorny Cypress WMA Map

Fees and Hours
No fees are required to access these areas. The areas are accessible during daylight hours year round. Please refer to TWRA Hunting Guide about hunting seasons and public access dates. Access dates vary by site.

There are no restroom facilities or designated birding observation areas.

TWRA Region I office
200 Lowell Thomas Drive, Jackson, TN 38301
800-372-3928; 731-423-5725

Info on other sites
Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife web site