Lower Muddy Creek Sewage Treatment Plant (and surrounding area)
Note: Call the Manson Meads office at Archie Elledge the day before you plant to go – (336) 765-0130. Ongoing construction may preclude accessibility to the retention ponds. Friday or Saturday may be best days to visit.
To reach this treatment plant, which also is known as the Cooper Rd. plant, take Stratford Road (US 158) west to Fraternity Church Road. Turn left and go through a “Round-a-bout”, following the Fraternity Church Road sign. The road will cross Salem Creek at 1.5 miles from Stratford Road. Take a cell phone, because you will need to stop at the gate and call the posted number to gain entrance. Go to the office and sign in.
Great Blue Herons are regular, and the banks and surrounding fields are worth checking. At 0.3 miles beyond the creek, turn right onto Cooper Road, go 0.5 mile and turn left just before the bridge. As you follow the flood plain, watch for Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Kingbird, Kingfisher and Broad-winged Hawk. As you near the gate to the treatment plant fence, inspect the wet field areas for Snipe, waders and migrating sandpipers.
The sewage treatment plant itself is worth checking if you can get in. Call the phone number on the gate and let them know you want to “birdwatch”. If they allow you in, follow the fence on the left to a gate and up a service road. Park below and walk up the road, checking the trees to the left. Watch for Meadowlark, swallows and flycatchers. The three settling ponds attract Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper and migrating shorebirds. Various hawks may be in the woods.
Return to Fraternity Church Road and drive 2 miles to Ebert Road. Take a left on Ebert and go past Darwick Road to Evans Road. Turn left and immediately stop. The northwest corner has been a good place to look for Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Blue Grosbeak in spring and summer.