• 8737_anderson

Place Category: Birding Guide and Central

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     The Anderson Waterways Trail System is an unofficial name given to the footpaths that unite the Shadyside Lakes, Killbuck Creek, Killbuck Wetlands, and the White River in northeast Anderson. The trail system was built in a piecemeal fashion over a period of many years, such that local names for individual sections of the trail still exist–including “Shadyside Trail,” “Wetlands Trail,” “Indian Trail,” and “Park Trail.” In addition to linking these diverse bodies of water, the trail system joins several city parks and wooded areas along its route, thus offering an optimal array of avian habitat.

    Included in the northern section of the trail system are the Shadyside Lakes, located in Shadyside Park between Cross Street and Grand Avenue. Totaling about 63 acres in area, these lakes are surrounded by paved trails that are easily accessible to the wheelchair user or those whose walking is challenged. The paths around the lakes are 2.65 miles in length and continue south to the Killbuck Wetlands, just above the point where Killbuck Creek joins the White River. The northern half of the trail system courses along an old levee that separates the Shadyside Lakes from Killbuck Creek, thereby offering excellent views of both the lakes (to the east) and the creek (to the west). The wetlands are home to many waterfowl and wading birds, both resident and migrating. From the wetlands, the path follows the White River upstream to Edgewater Park and beyond to where Scatterfield Road crosses White River. Some of the trails upstream from Edgewater Park become unpaved, gravel paths. The total trail length is about five miles.

    Much of the trail is tree-lined and close to water. There are heavily wooded areas along Killbuck Creek and the portion of the White River upstream from the Edgewater Park parking lot. There is good habitat for many species of ducks and geese, as well as Great Blue Herons and Belted Kingfishers. Barred Owls nest in Shadyside Park and Great Horned Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls may occasionally be found. There is a resident population of Canada Geese that nests in the Killbuck Wetlands and surrounding areas. Muskrats, beavers, woodchucks, and occasional deer may be seen also. Many varieties of migrating birds may be seen in season, including ducks, geese, warblers, vireos, and other migrant songbirds. Several hawk species have been seen from the trail system at various times of the year.

    There are two modern restroom facilities in the Shadyside Park area. Picnic and playground facilities are available at several locations. Except for two locations between the wetlands and Edgewater Park where the trail dips down to pass under bridges, the entire trail system is nearly level.

    The trail system is scheduled for expansion both up and down the White River over the next few years. Look for extensions west from the Killbuck Wetlands, and east from Scatterfield Road to Rangeline Road.

    Typical Time to Bird Site: 2-3 Hours


    Passerines, including warblers, kinglets, thrushes, vireos, sparrows, grosbeaks, and orioles can be found during spring and fall migrations along the west side of the Shadyside Lakes and at Edgewater Park from the trailhead to Scatterfield Road. Waterfowl and woodpeckers nest in the area.

    Specialty Species:
    A family of Barred Owls has resided next to the trail for about twenty years. The original male owl died in 2000 and the territory was inherited by his son from the previous year. This male and his mate produce one to three new owls each year. The father owl may be found each day from November to March roosting in the “home tree”, a large sycamore near the trail, about 200 yards west of the covered bridge. Young owlets can sometimes be seen in this neighborhood from the time they fledge in mid-May until early August.
    Noteworthy Records: 

    One juvenile and two adult Black-crowned Night-Herons were seen along Shadyside Lake Trail for ten days in September, 1992. Then in September of 1999, a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron was photographed as it hunted in the Killbuck Wetlands.


     Seng, Phil T., and David J. Case. Indiana Wildlife Viewing Guide. Helena, MT: Falcon Press, 1992.


    The Birds of Madison County
    Created and maintained by Tom and Jean Harbron, this wonderful site features the birdlife of the Madison County area. Check for current photos of Madison County birds, as well as photos of Killbuck Creek, Shadyside Lakes, the White River, and Killbuck Wetlands. 
    Trail System Map and Directions
    From The Birds of Madison County website, this detailed map of northeast Anderson shows the trail system and adjacent streets.


    Authors: Tom and Jean Harbron
    Editors: Darel Heitkamp and Dick Patterson
  • Address: Anderson
    United States
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