NOTE: THIS is essentially a RESCHEDULING of our AOC APR 18th KENNESAW BIRDING EVENT. Since it was rainy Wednesday morning, we seven in Giff Beaton's "Auduboners + guests" got in only about a half hour of birding before deciding to call it a day - but even that half hour was rewarded with a colorful red summer tanager singing his heart out and other nice birds including cedar waxwings, phoebes and rare migrant warblers. Giff is offering the same nice field trip this Sat AM. It's expected to be partly sunny Saturday with only a passing light shower or two, so please join us! The event will be ON rain or shine!
IN A NUTSHELL: Most AOCers may be unaware that our most popular hiking venue, Kennesaw Mountain Nat'l Battlefield Park, is considered to be one of the premier birding hotspots in the Southeast - esp. as a stopover point for colorful migrating species such as warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, thrushes and vireos. Mid-April is considered "primetime" at Kennesaw - a perfect time of year for observing such rarely seen migrating birds as well as our beautiful year-round residents.
No problem if you're new to birding! This free AOC "participation event" with our friends in the Atlanta Audubon Society will be equally enjoyable for novices and experts alike.
Our Audubon host for the hike will be master birder, author and photographer Giff Beaton. Known for his excellent books, The Birds of Kennesaw Mountain and Birding Georgia, Giff and a few of his friends recently held the record for the largest number of different bird species ever observed in the U.S. in a single day - more than 200!
EVENT PURPOSE, PLAN & PACE: This "walk-and-pause" birding hike 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 an experiential and learning hike, with frequent stops for naked-eye and binocular birdwatching and for intent listening to birds that may or may not be in view. The hike is expected to be just 2 to 3 miles in total distance, with about 500 feet of elevation gain.
Bring binoculars if you have a pair - if not, you're welcome to share a couple of spare pair that your AOC hike leader will bring.
Feel free to split at any time during the event if you like, provided you let me know. It's easy to find your way back to the parking lot.
As a 10-minute "wrapup" at the end of each birding field trip it's fun to help the host tally the estimated number of birds of each species that the group has identified either by sight or song.
MORE ON KENNESAW MTN NAT'L BATTLEFIELD PARK: Click on this link for free downloadable maps and for the fascinating Civil War history of the mountain: http://www.nps.gov/kemo/index.htm
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 excellent color photos, song recordings and range maps for each species:
FROM the I-75/ I-285 INTERCHANGE in NW ATLANTA:
1. Take I-75 North about 8 miles and exit toward your right at Exit #267B ("US-41, GA-5 South" which will loop you clockwise onto the GA-5 "Canton Road Connector" toward Marietta).
2. After completing the I-75 exit loop, AVOID the rightward exit onto US-41 and continue straight ahead on the connector for about 1 mile to the first traffic light at Church Street.
3. Just before you reach the traffic light bear hard Right onto "Church Street Extension" and go just 0.6 mile to the second traffic light where "Old US-41" tees in from the left.
4. Turn Left onto Old US-41 and go 1.2 mile to Stilesboro Road. (Notice the Kennesaw Mtn Nat'l Battlefield Visitor Center on your left across the lawn).
5. Turn Left onto Stilesboro Road, then immediately Left again into the large free Park parking lot. (If the main lot is full there's more parking in the nearby overflow lot.)
6. We'll meet at the entrance doors to the Park Visitor Center.
LAT/LON COORDINATES of PARKING LOT (for GPS or Google Maps in conjunction with above directions): 33.9832,-84.5783