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Standifer Gap Marsh

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

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Site Description and Habitats

The site is a cattail marsh with some large pockets of open water, bordered by stands of wet grasses, sedges, and bulrushes. Margins also contain willows and other moisture loving hardwoods and shrubs. According to Pastor Lindon, the pastor to the previous owners of the church where the marsh is located, the marsh was in somewhat its present day condition until about 30 years ago when it dried up. It then was used as pasture land with mowed grass for a couple of decades. About 1990, it filled up again with water. It is primarily spring fed, with some additional drainage from surrounding land, including some coming from under the railroad tracks.

Management and restoation of the marsh has been happening off and on over the last few years. Hopefully the water levels will be managed better marshes and the trees in the marsh will be removed.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: The woods can be teaming with warblers, vireos, thrushes and flycatchers, including Blackpoll (spring only), Tennessee, Worm-eating, Nashville, Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Chesnut-sided Warbler, Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrush, Gray Catbird, Least and Willow Flycatcher, Sedge and Marsh Wren, Lincoln's Sparrow. Shorebirds can be present on mudflats or even the grassy fields, including Upland (rare), Spotted, Solitary, Semipalmated and Least Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, American Golden and Semipalmated Plover

Summer: Least Bittern (not seen in a couple years with poor marsh conditions), Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Purple Martin, Eastern Wood-pewee, Black-crowned Night-heron, Hooded Warbler.

Winter: A variety of waterfowl can be found including American Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall,Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal. Sparrows are often common in the thickets and on the edge of the marsh, including Swamp, White-throated, White-crowned, and Savannah. Purple Finch, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, and Brown Creeper can be found as well.

Year-Round: Virginia Rail, Sora (both uncommon now that the marsh is in poor condition), Wild Turkey, Canada Goose, Killdeer, Song, Field Sparrow and Eastern Phoebe. There always seems to be a couple Red-shouldered Hawks and Belted Kingfishers present.

Rarities Seen at this Site: Black-billed Cuckoo, Black Rail, Yellow Rail, Clay-colored Sparrow(twice!), Yellow-headed Blackbird, White-winged Dove, Purple Gallinule (very rare in TN now), Glossy Ibis.

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

Submit your data to eBird here

Detailed directions for birding Standifer Gap Marsh
Standifer Gap Marsh is located on the northeast side of Chattanooga. From I-75, take Exit 5, Shallowford Road. Go west (to the left from I-75 North, to the right from I-75 South) on Shallowford Road 0.6 miles to the intersection with Hickory Valley Road. Turn right (north) and go 0.7 miles to the first stoplight. Turn left onto Standifer Gap Road. After 0.4 miles, turn right onto a paved entrance road to a new church campus. The marsh area is on your left. Drive to the far end of the marsh and park on the gravel. Be sure to not block the gate.

Walk along the edge of the marsh, birding all the open areas possible. Also walk the gravel road through the marsh. The trail goes up into the woods on the hillside and loops around. You can easily spend a few hours here!

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Road along side the marsh: 35.06241, -85.16726

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

There are no restroom facilities or designated birding observation areas.

Info for other sites
Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife web site