Hamilton Lakes Park
Habitats: Mature mixed hardwood/pine forest with dense undergrowth, and a small lake in a residential neighborhood.
Key birds: Summer: Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks, Great Horned, Barred, and Eastern Screech-Owls, and Wood Thrush. Winter: Wood and Ring-necked Ducks, Pied-billed Grebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco, and White-throated Sparrow. Year-round: Pileated, Red-bellied, Hairy, and Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, American Robin, White-breasted and Brown-headed Nuthatches, Song Sparrow, and American Goldfinch.
Best times to bird: Migration and summer.
Description: Hamilton Lakes Park is private property located in an upscale residential neighborhood. It is one of the best places in the county to see neotropical migrants in the spring. A sewer line and creek run the length of the park that stretches about a half mile through several long blocks in the heavily wooded residential area. Most of its length consists of tall mature trees with a thick understory of smaller trees and shrubs. A loop trail is formed by an unpaved path that runs down the center of the park and connects at each end with a paved sidewalk that parallels Madison. A private lake at the west end of the park may be viewed from the slight rise of the dam on Keeling Road. Note that the lake itself is posted and there is no public access around it.
Directions: Hamilton Lakes Park is in suburban Greensboro. Access to the park is off Holden Road on Madison Avenue. Go north from Market Street on Holden Road about 0.4 of a mile and turn left onto Madison Avenue or south from Friendly Avenue on Holden Road about 0.5 of a mile and turn right on Madison Avenue. Stay on Madison through a residential neighborhood about 0.3 of a mile to Kemp Road. There is a small gravel parking area across the street on the left where a few cars can park. From here one can enter a loop trail of about 1.7 miles.
There are several points of access to the park along Madison, but parking is limited for its 0.7-mile length. A few cars may be parked at the curbside on Battle Road about 0.4 of a mile from Kemp. There also is a small pull off on Madison about 0.2 mile beyond Battle where about two or three cars may squeeze in. About 0.1 mile further is the intersection with Keeling Road. By turning left, you may cross the dam and park at another small gravel parking area at the intersection with Henderson Road. There is a reasonably good view of the lake from here.
Birding Highlights: Nearly every warbler species in eastern North American has been seen here, and warbler fall-outs can be spectacular. In addition to the neotropicals, the park and the surrounding neighborhood host quite a few breeding species. A good selection of nesting raptors has been found in summer including Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks and Great Horned, Barred, and Eastern Screech-Owls. Thrush species can be common, including Swainson's in spring, Wood in summer, and Hermit in winter. The mature woodland is a good place for all the Piedmont woodpeckers, including Pileated, Red-bellied, Hairy, and Downy, as well as Northern Flicker and, in winter, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Most of the waterfowl in the small lake are introduced domestic ducks, Mallard, and feral Canada Geese. However, Wood Duck nest in the artificial boxes scattered around the wooded shore and shallow west end, and in winter there usually are a few Ring-necked Duck and Pied-billed Grebe in the lake.
General Information: There are no public facilities in this privately owned park. Birders must be particularly cautious about being good guests because parking is limited and it is heavily used by neighborhood residents for walking and jogging.
DeLorme map grid: page 37, A7
North Carolina Travel Map grid: G1
For more information: No contacts available