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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » Middle Tennessee
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Gateway Island Ponds, Murfreesboro

Site Directions: From I-24 - Take Exit 76 and travel east onto Medical Center Parkway. Travel 1.8 miles on Medical Center Parkway and turn left onto Thompson Lane. Go 0.5 miles on Thompson Lane and turn right on Gateway Blvd. In 100m or so, make the first left onto Garrison Dr. Pull into the parking lot on your right in 0.3 miles at a big medical office building and park at the far side of the lot, closest to a narrow tree line.

Lat-Long: 35.865822,-86.422139, parking lot at western end of the ponds
Lat-Long: 35.863487,-86.419407, gravel parking area on east side by overgrown large dirt pile
Hours: daylight hours
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description: The area has a mix of ponds and overgrown grassy areas. The ponds are often full, but on occasion the water drains through the soil and mud flats are present. There are a couple large dirt piles left over from construction that are overgrown with grasses, pokeweed, etc. and are very birdy.

Wildlife to Watch: The ponds occasionally have decent waterfowl, including Ross’s Goose in 2010. When the water is low, shorebirds are present (in season). Willets, Short-billed Dowitcher, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, in addition to Least, Western, Spotted, and Solitary Sandpipers have been present in recent years (2011-2012). Killdeer are omnipresent in the area. The grassy fields often have Eastern Meadowlarks. Red-tailed Hawks are regular, as are Cooper’s Hawks. Belted Kingfishers have several active burrows in the tall dirt piles. Eastern Kingbirds are often very cooperative in spring through early fall.

In fall through spring, the overgrown dirt piles and adjacent grassy areas are very good for sparrows. In 2012, Lincoln’s, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Song, Field, and Savannah have been found. In migration, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers may be found.

Early morning is best for birding this site.

For more information:

Submit your data to eBird and help us build a list of birds seen at this site. “Gateway Island” is a hot spot.


Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.