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Metro Atlanta Birding Hike by the Chattahoochee

The Basics:
Event Type:Learn
Event Location: Cochran Shoals lot, just off I-285 in NW Atlanta.   Learn: Metro Atlanta Birding Hike by the Chattahoochee  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, May 21 2011  8:00 am >> Sat, May 21 2011 11:00 am
Registration Opens: Wed, May 18 2011 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, May 20 2011 10:00 pm
Event Duration:3 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D1: Easy
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:15
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 11 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


OVERVIEW: The lovely and easy-to-access Cochran Shoals unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is one of metro Atlanta's most popular places among joggers, dog-walkers and exercise hikers.  Less well known is the fact that the park's riverside forests and wetlands provide an excellent habitat and flyway both for migrating birds and year-round resident species.  The quiet early morning hours of mid-May are a perfect time for observing great blue herons, ducks, geese, kingfishers, hawks, rare migrating warblers, scarlet tanagers, cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, indigo buntings and other songbirds.  Although we’ll be literally “getting up with the birds” for this 8:00 AM event sponsored by the Atlanta Audubon Society, we’re sure to enjoy not only the numerous birds and other wild critters, but also the park's botanical and aquatic beauty at this rarely relished time of day.

EVENT PURPOSE, PLAN & PACE: Our Audubon Society hosts for the event will be expert birders Al Mercer and Liz Cooper and other avid and experienced birders from the Society. This "walk-and-pause birding tutorial" will sharpen our ability to spot and observe birds and identify them from their body & wing markings, flight patterns, perching & feeding habits, and calls.
  If you're chiefly an "exercise hiker," be advised that this will be a leisurely experiential and learning hike, with frequent stops along the way for naked-eye and binocular birdwatching and for intent listening to birds that may or may not be in view.
 The hike will probably be no more than 2 to 3 miles in total distance, with negligible ascents and descents near the river. 
 Bring your binoculars if you have a pair—if not, you're welcome to share a couple of spare pair that your AOC hike leader will provide—also your birding field guide if you have one.
  Our custom just after each Audubon birding hike is to gather in a shady spot near the parking lot to discuss and tally the number of birds of each species that are identified either by sight or by song.  You'll likely enjoy staying with us through this final birding wrapup, but feel free to leave early at any time if you so desire.

ATLANTA AUDUBON WEBSITE:  Click on "Field Trips" in the upper left corner of the home page for info on free upcoming birding walks.  Anyone with an interest in birds is always welcome to attend these regardless of whether you're an Audubon Society member.

ONLINE FREE BIRDING GUIDE:  For brushing up on your birding knowledge and skills in the comfort of your own home, here's a great web link that has nice color photos, song recordings and range maps for each species:

Required Items to Bring:

• Wear comfortable Walking Shoes, Sport Sandals or Hiking Boots that you don't mind getting wet, since we'll occasionally be walking in wetland areas.
• Wear weather-appropriate comfortable Clothing Layers. 
• Bring $3.00 in Cash for Self-Serve Daily CRNRA Parking Fee (unless you display valid annual National Parks parking pass)

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

• Binoculars if you have a pair (preferably light-weight).
Camera (ideally with a good zoom feature).
Birding Field Guide if you have one.
Spare Pair of Shoes and dry socks to leave in your car, since your footwear may become wet.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

  The popular Chattahoochee River NRA "COCHRAN SHOALS" PARKI"NG LOT adjoins the I-285 "Interstate North Parkway" access road about 100 yards northwest of where I-285 crosses the river.
  The lot's Latitude/Longitude coordinates for use with GPS or with are: 33.901811,-84.443911
  Following are directions from I-285 on Atlanta's north side:

1. Get off I-285 at Exit #22, "Northside Drive, New Northside Drive, Powers Ferry Road."
2. Continue straight ahead for about 0.2 mile to the light at New Northside Drive.
3. Turn Left onto New Northside Drive and go about 0.5 mile to the second traffic light (crossing the I-285 bridge).
4. Continue straight ahead at that light for another 0.9 mile—road is called "Interstate North Parkway" beyond that light.
5. Immediately after you cross the river turn Right into the large paved CRNRA parking lot.
6. We'll meet by the Bulletin Board and water fountain at the far end of the parking lot, where the trail network begins.

1. Get off I-285 at Exit #22 "New Northside Drive/ Powers Ferry Rd."
2. Turn Right onto New Northside Drive and go just 0.2 mile to the next light.
3. NOW CONTINUE STRAIGHT AHEAD on Interstate North Pkwy following Directions #2 thru #6 above to the CRNRA parking lot and our meeting point by the bulletin board & water fountain.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:

$3 Daily Parking Fee payable in self-service envelope with rear-view mirror receipt (unless you display a valid National Parks annual pass).

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.