Wildlife Viewing Guide
Description: A WMA located in the broad river flood plain of the mighty Altamaha River, this wilderness refuge for wildlife stretches almost 17 miles along the largest undammed river in Georgia. Much of the area is remote and accessible only by boat. Habitats include old diked rice fields, pine savannas, tidal creeks, hardwood floodplain forests, and old-growth stands of baldcypress. Champney and Butler Islands are readily accessible to the visitor without a boat and offer excellent opportunities for seeing songbirds during spring and fall migrations and tremendous numbers of waterfowl during the winter. There are also interesting historic sites here and in nearby Darien.
Viewing Information: For numbers and diversity, this is one of the best areas in the State for observing waterfowl. Old rice fields now serve as managed waterfowl impoundments. Champney Island contains a 34-acre MARSH project, built in 1989 and sponsored by Ducks Unlimited. Great numbers of waterfowl concentrate here during the winter. A nature trail and elevated viewing platform are wonderful observation points. In addition to over a dozen species of waterfowl that visit these islands, common sights include the great egret, snowy egret, American bittern, least bittern, and, in the spring, black-necked stilt. Fall migrating songbirds include the common yellowthroat, indigo bunting, and swamp sparrow. Overhead you might see swallow-tailed kites, Mississippi kites or bald eagles. This is a tremendous area for bird watching in a coastal river flood plain habitat.
Directions: From Darien, travel 3 miles south on US Hwy. 17. Turn right on dirt access road across the US Hwy. 17 from the Champney River Boat Landing. The observation tower is .25 mile on the left.
Management: Georgia DNR, Wildlife Resources Division, 912-262-3173
Closest Town: Darien, GA
Additional Information: Area Manager, David Edwards 912-437-6908
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