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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » Middle Tennessee
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Radnor Lake State Park

Site Directions: Take I 65 to south of Nashville to Harding Place, Exit 78. Travel west on Harding Place (or Battery Lane) to Granny White Pike. Turn left and travel south to Otter Creek Road and turn left (across from Granny White Market).

Access is also available from Franklin Pike, going north from its intersection with Old Hickory Blvd just west of I-65. Franklin Pike intersects Otter Creek Rd and Hogan Rd at a light and Otter Creek Rd goes to the left (west). Follow until you reach the parking lot at the end of the open road.
Lat-Long: 36.063367,-86.810447, west entrance and visitors center
Hours: day light hours
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description: Mature hardwood forest surrounds a large lake created nearly 100 years ago. Hiking trails, including some paved roads, are accessible to those on foot year round. Radnor Lake is a very popular urban park and can be very crowded when the weather is nice. Restrooms are available at the Nature Center (west entrance) and at the east entrance parking lot on Otter Creek Rd.

Wednesday mornings in spring and fall, the Nashville chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society runs birding trips to observe migrant birds.

Wildlife to Watch:
Spring and fall migration is phenomenal. This is absolutely the best places for warbler and other songbird migration in the state. Warblers and vireos are common to abundant in spring and fall. You can find 20+ species of warbler in a good morning within a mile of trail. All warblers occurring in Tennessee can be found here, while a few are more scarce than others. Philadelphia Vireos are uncommon, but always a local treat in spring and fall. Black-billed Cuckoo is rare annually. This is the best place in Tennessee to try to find Connecticut and Mourning Warblers in spring. The peak migration date for Connecticut Warbler is around May 15th, but anytime in early to mid-May these difficult species to observe may be found with Mourning Warbler being much more regularly detected. Uncommon migrants like Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Least Flycatcher can be seen in early to mid-May.

Louisiana Waterthrush return by March 20th and are commonly seen and heard through early May when they become very inconspicuous.

In the summer, Radnor Lake hosts a typical mix of eastern woodland breeding species, including Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Kentucky Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and others. Of particular interest to birders is a pair of Prothonotary Warblers that nest along the dam.

One to two adult Bald Eagles are occasionally present in fall and winter.

In winter, many species of waterfowl can be seen including American Black Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Gadwall, among others. Occasionally, large flocks of American Robins are found in the forests on the east side of the lake in winter. Common Goldeneye, although rare, does occur occasionally. A Surf Scoter was present in late 2011 for over a week. Common winter birds include both kinglets, Brown Creeper, White-throated Sparrow, among other sparrows and resident birds.

Rare Birds - MacGillivray Warbler (only state record), Limpkin, Bewick's Wren (now very rare in Tennessee), Mississippi Kite (very rare in middle TN).


For more information:

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Important Bird Area web page

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Bird Finding site description page

Birds of Radnor Lake from eBird submissions

State Park web page

Map of hiking trails at Radnor Lake

Submit your data to eBird and help us add to the list of birds seen at this site


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