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Melton Hill Dam and Campground

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

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Site Description and Habitats

The dam area has multiple access areas to the river, above and below the dam. There is a 0.9 mi trail through mixed pine and hardwood forests. There are nice viewing areas of the lake from the campground.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Swainson's Thrush, numerous warblers including Palm, Pine, Yellow-throated, among others (little birding has been done here in spring and fall migration!), Scarlet and Summer Tanager, Common Yellowthroat, among others.

Summer: Double-crested Cormorant, Black-crowned Night-heron, Chimney Swift, Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireo, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Indigo Bunting

Winter: Bonaparte's and Ring-billed Gulls, Chipping Sparrows and Dark-yed Juncos in the campground, usually with American Robins and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Year-Round: Canada Geese, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebirds, Bald Eagle, Cedar Waxwing, Common Grackle

Rarities Seen at this Site: Red-necked Grebe

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

Submit your data to eBird here

Detailed directions for birding Melton Hill Dam and Campground
The dam and campground is located just north of I-40 at exit 364. Travel north from I-40 for less than a mile and turn right following signs towards the dam.

Upon turning onto the road to the dam, drive the main road slow and scout out the river. There's also a lot of bluebird boxes that are usually occupied by Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds. Once you get to the dam, you can go up the hill to the overlook and trail or keep going through the campground. If the campground is closed (in winter), park by the boat ramp just down from the gated entrance to the campground. Walk the shoreline or through the campground to the east end where you can scope way upstream. The river is not often very birdy, but in winter you can expect Bonaparte's Gulls, Pied-billed Grebe, among others. The pine woods in the campground are an excellent spot for Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Melton Hill Dam: 35.88373, -84.300671

Fees and Hours
No fees are required to access these areas. The areas are accessible during daylight hours year round. There are fees for camping.

There are restroom facilities at the campground.

Info for other sites
Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife web site