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Seven Islands State Birding Park

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

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Site Description and Habitats

Seven Islands State Birding Park is a new 400 acre state park, formerly called Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge and owned by Knox County, about 8.5 miles east of Knoxville. The refuge, on former farmland, includes the Kelly Bend peninsula along the French Broad River. Habitats include wooded hills, an intermittent stream, and several fields being restored to native warm-season grasses. A paved road extends over a mile into the property creating a prime birding route. Upon arriving at the parking area, start listening for bird song. The most popular, and effective, route for birding here is simply to walk along the paved road from the parking lot towards the river. This road is mostly level, with a fairly short, gradual drop in elevation near the halfway point.

There are about 6 miles of unpaved hiking trails throughout the park. It's easy to spend a LOT of time walking the trails. The trails are either mowed paths to well worn paths. Hiking boots are recommended due to morning dew and unevenness of the trails, but that's a gd hiking trail!

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Nearly all warblers, vireos, thrushes, and flycatchers can be found, including Blackpoll (spring only), Cape May, Chestnut-sided, Palm, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, and Tennessee Warblers, Philadelphia and Warbling Vireo, Willow Flycatcher, Hermit Thrush, Marsh and Sedge Wren, Lincoln's Sparrow and all the swallows.

Summer: Prothonotary, Prairie, and Yellow Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Wood Thrush, Orchard Oriole, Chimney Swift, Indigo Bunting,and Blue Grosbeak.

Winter: Waterfowl may include Mallard, Lesser Scaup, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, and Hooded Merganser. Ring-billed and Bonaparte's Gulls, Rusty Blackbird, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Pipit, numerous sparrows including White-throated, White-crowned, Fox, and Swamp, plus Dark-eyed Junco.

Year-Round: Northern Bobwhite, Canada Goose, Eastern Towhee, Song and Field Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Horned, Barred, and Eastern Screech-Owl, and Bald Eagle.

Rarities Seen at this Site: Little Blue Heron, Townsend's Solitaire, Swainson's Warbler (locally rare)

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

Submit your data to eBird here

Detailed directions for birding Seven Islands
From I-40, take Exit 402 - Midway Rd. Turn south onto Midway Rd. This is a right turn if coming from Knoxville, left if coming from points east. Continue on Midway for 2 miles where you will turn left onto Maples Rd. (note: at the one mile point, Midway bears left). Watch for the green refuge signs. At the end of Maples (~ 1 mile), turn right onto Kodak Rd. After about a quarter mile, turn left onto Kelly Lane, which takes you right to the parking area. There are trails throughout the park that go through fields and woods and all are worth exploring. The fields are excellent for Northern Bobwhite, Priairie Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Field Sparrow, and Indigo Buntings.

Just before the parking lot is a left turn to a boat launch area. This is also a part of the refuge, but the area is rarely birded.

Additional details on birding Seven Islands (Tennessee Ornithlogical Society)

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Parking lot: 35.953985,-83.686547

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

There are restroom facilities (portojohn).

Seven Islands State Birding Park

Info for other site
Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife web site