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December 2011 - the Atlanta Audubon Society


  • pg 1
									                                                                                                                        Dec 2011/Jan 2012

       Volume XXXVII, Issue 10                                                          ATLANTA AUDUBON SOCIETY
    Ready, Set, Snap! The 2012 AAS Photo Contest                                                                                       I N S I D E
Yes, it’s time to start thinking about the                                              instruction from David.
annual Atlanta Audubon Society Photo                                                                                            President’s Perch.................2
                                                                                        If you would like to help, contact
Contest. Acceptance of entries will                                                     David at peachstate@bellsouth.net or    So Long!...............................2
begin Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, and end                                                     770.377.3173.
Friday, March 2, 2012.                                                                                                          Trip Tease .............................3
                                                                                        In the meantime, here are some
The awards banquet will be held                                                         helpful words from contest judge Giff   Field Notes - September .....4
Sunday, March 25, 2012, once again at         This White-tailed Ptarmigan photo won     Beaton:
the Gordon-Biersch Brewery.                   first place in the “other” category as                                            Field Trips.............................5
                                                                                  Once again, entries will be judged on
                                              well as Best in Show first place honors
Look for more contest details in the                                              composition, focus, light, color,
                                              Photographer: Stephen Grunfeld                                                    Eyes on Education...............6
February issue of Wingbars.                                                       technical difficulty, relative difficulty
David Cree will act as chairman again next year and               and creative shots. The first four criteria are self-         Flying WILD ..........................6
is asking for volunteers to assist him in uploading               explanatory, but here is a little more discussion
the photographs to Flickr. Volunteers can do this                 about the last three.                                         Home School Flockings ........6
from the comfort of their homes with some                                                                continued on page 4    Warbler Weekend .................7
                                                                                                                                Shorebird Workshop .............7
                                   Blue Heron’s Friendly Phoebe
                                                                                                                                Master Birder Course............7
                                                             By Lenny Borg
                       On our recent trips to the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Sandy Murray, Kit Robey and I have                Better Birder is Back.............7
                       been greeted near the bridge on Rickenbacker Drive by an Eastern Phoebe. During each
                       visit the phoebe moved progressively closer. On our third trip, the inquisitive phoebe settled
                                                                                                                                Christmas Bird Count...........8
                       for a minute upon the telescope hanging at my side before fluttering upward to peck                      Classifieds............................8
 Blue Heron’s Friendly repeatedly the tiny silver logo on the binoculars suspended from my neck. Swarovski
 Phoebe                 intended that logo to represent an eagle, but it obviously looks more like a tasty insect to            2012 Workshop Calendar ....8
 Photographer:          the flycatcher. The phoebe next pecked the buttons on Kit’s shirt. When Lisa Tyler joined
 Sandy Murray
                        us for the next trip, she was initially incredulous about our tales, but within minutes the             Saltmarsh Sparrows ................9
 phoebe had perched upon my scope, nibbled at my binoculars, landed upon my shoulder, and then settled on                       Membership ..........................9
 Lisa’s forearm.
 It happens that Nancy Jones, executive director of the preserve, was already well acquainted with the phoebe.                  Fall 2011 Master Birders...10
 While seated on the back deck of the building that houses the headquarters of Atlanta Audubon, Nancy had
 been startled to find a phoebe setting down on her knee. The bird then fluttered upward to thoroughly
 investigate Nancy’s earrings before making herself comfortable on the shoulder of a security workman seated
 nearby. No sooner had Nancy related that encounter to us than a teacher inquired about the little gray bird                         ATLANTA
 that followed her class of 20 second graders on their visit through the nature preserve!
 Sayornis phoebe is known for being remarkably tolerant of mankind. In 1840 Eastern Phoebes were the first                       AUDUBON SOCIETY
 birds banded by John J. Audubon, our nation’s earliest bird bander. He found them to be extraordinarily tame
 at the nest.                                                                                                                      4055 Roswell Road
                                                                                                                                   Atlanta, GA 30342
                              AAS ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY
                              Come join us for the Atlanta Audubon Society Annual Holiday Party
              at the Doraville Civic Center on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 8 PM. Located at 3770 Central Ave.,
                               Doraville, GA 30340, the Civic Center is just ½ mile inside I-285.                                   678.973.2437
   The event will include music, our famous silent auction, games, and an update on your society’s successes for 2011 and
    plans for 2012. Charlie Muise will give us a fine presentation on his work with the Important Bird Area (IBA) program.        www.atlantaaudubon.org
 Fresh appetizers and other treats will be provided compliments of AAS. Our own brand of coffee will be available along
                     with holiday beverages. There is no charge to attend the event and parking is free.
 RSVPs are very much appreciated. Please call Sally Davis at our office at 678.973.2437 or email atlantaaudubon@comcast.net
  by Thursday Dec. 1. Directions: From I-285 (traveling either east or west), exit on Buford Highway (exit 32). Turn left off
                                                                                                                                  GOS RARE BIRD ALERT
    the exit onto Buford Highway, travel ½ mile, then turn right onto Central Ave. The Civic Center will be on your left.
     Board of Directors
                                                                                      President’s Perch
                                                                                               by Harriette Hoyt
           President Harriette Hoyt
           President-elect Joy Carter               Wow, time really does fly. It’s difficult to believe we are ushering out 2011 and welcoming in 2012. If you read Wingbars
          joy.carter@mindspring.com                 throughout the year, you are aware of AAS’s many accomplishments. Let me recap the highlights. We began this year
                 Co-Treasurers                      with Jamie Hawk joining AAS as our executive director. Under Jamie’s leadership, AAS successfully obtained three new
                  Ellen Miller
                 404.355.8892                       TogetherGreen grants:
                  Tom Painter
                                                     • Innovation - enhancing AAS’s bilingual Learning About Birds curriculum and expanding it to the 6th through 8th
       Recording Secy Mark Jernigan                  • Volunteer - enticing new participants in at least six volunteer events for AAS
        markajernigan@bellsouth.net                  • Jamie’s Conservation Fellowship - infusing bird friendly practices into agriculture, community development and
        Past President Carol Hassell                   planning.
           chassell@mindspring.com                  In the area of education, AAS completed eight bilingual Learning About Birds guides for the 3rd through 5th grades, and
                 DIRECTORS                          workshops were held throughout the second half of the year to provide the material to teachers for their classrooms.
         Conservation Dave Butler
                 404.580.3917                       AAS enhanced outreach to youth by partnering in the Youth Birding Competition and Camp TALON with the Georgia
          Education Eddie Hatchett                  Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Ornithological Society. Additionally, we developed and expanded our
                 404.585.7497                       Boy and Girl Scout programs. Also, we provided adult education throughout the year with twelve workshops from Master
           Communications Vacant                    Birder to photography and everything in between. A BIG thanks to Nikki Belmonte for her creative initiatives in
        Public Relations Cathy Barnard              education and to all the volunteers teaching AAS workshops.
                                                    Throughout the year, Charlie Muise provided opportunities for AAS members to learn more about conservation initiatives
             Volunteers Linda Liu
        hummingbird888@gmail.com                    through bird banding and grass seed collections. Charlie also kept tabs on the 48 IBAs (Important Bird Areas) across
                  AT LARGE                          the state.
                  Jay Davis
                                                    Jacqueline McRae created a wonderful opportunity for AAS members to enjoy the beauty in backyards with AAS’s 10th
              Pam Higginbotham
                                                    Annual Backyard Sanctuary Tour. Many of you also attended field trips in winter, spring, summer or fall; Iris Schumacher
                                                    organized 100+ field trips this year for AAS. Also in the conservation area, Joy Carter worked with Café Campesino to
            David Kuechenmeister                    develop an AAS-branded Shade-Grown Coffee. (Go to atlantaauddubon.org, click on “shade-grown coffee” and order
                404.822.8089                        some today.)
                Victor Williams                     The year is winding down, but WOW, we accomplished a lot and had a great time in the process. In closing, I want to
          Earthshare Representative
                770.423.1012                        provide a special thank you to Diane Hawkins-Cox for volunteering her time over the past two years as Wingbars
                                                    manager – Diane - THANKS. I also want to thank Sally Davis for keeping the office on track and providing the continuity
       Executive Director Jamie Hawk                needed for the organization. It has been my pleasure serving as your 2011 board president. AAS will be in great hands
       jamie.hawk@atlantaaudubon.org                going forward as Joy Carter takes over as 2012 board president.
    Education Coordinator Nikki Belmonte
    Administrative Coordinator Sally Davis                                                 So Long and Thanks!                         By Diane Hawkins-Cox
         atlantaaudubon@comcast.net                                              It’s been two years since I started managing Wingbars, and now it’s time to put down my red
                      Field Trips
                  Susan Breunig                                                  pen. Starting with the February 2012 issue, Ben Smith will be your Wingbars go-to person. I
                                                                                 know he will put out a great-looking newsletter for you. Please send Wingbars items to him at
                 Iris Schumacher                                                 ben.fitzgerald.smith@gmail.com.
                        Website                                                My thanks go to the many Wingbars contributors over the past 24 months. I especially
                      Jim Flynn                     Diane Hawkins-Cox holding
         webmaster@atlantaaudubon.org               an endangered Guam Rail at appreciate Leigh McDougal and Liz Hornsby, who have taken the lead in writing the Trip
                  Wingbars Manager                  a captive breeding program Tease feature. I know their wonderful prose has inspired folks to go on birding trips that they
                Diane Hawkins-Cox
                    404.909.9095                    on Guam                    otherwise might have missed. I’m also thankful for other contributors, including Jo Ellen
                   Wingbars Editor
                                                                               Wilburn, Carl Tyler, Cheryl Brown, Georgann Schmalz, Grant McCreary, Charlie Muise, John
                     Susan Milne                    Yow, and Bob Zaremba. I’ve appreciated the ever-faithful contributions of Field Notes from Terry Moore and Field Trips
                 symilne@gmail.com                  from Stan Chapman and Iris Schumacher. Thanks to the board members and staff – especially the ever-prolific
                     Proofreading                   education coordinator, Nikki Belmonte – who contributed innumerable items. And my eternal gratitude goes to Darlene
                   Steven Phenicie
                    770.849.0391                    Moore, Dan Vickers, and others for the great bird photos they contributed for illustrating articles.
                   Design & Layout                  And of course, I am very grateful for my wonderful Wingbars team, Judy and Deb at Copy Preparation, copyeditor Susan
        Copy Preparation 770.939.2002
              incoming@copyprep.com                 Milne, and proofreader Steven Phenicie, who, in addition to catching mistakes, taught us a thing or two about ravens
  Newsletter deadline is the first of the month     and pigeons.
            for material to be published
                 the following month.
      Please submit articles as MS-Word to          Although I’m leaving Wingbars, I will still be an AAS member, so perhaps I’ll see some of you in a class or on a field trip
          Email attachments, if possible.           someday.
  Wingbars is the official newsletter of Atlanta
 Audubon Society and is published 10 times a
    year. We feature news, upcoming events,
meetings, field trips and projects. We hope you
                                                                                            Mission Statement:
will join us. Opinions expressed are those of the
 authors and do not necessarily reflect policies          Protecting Georgia’s birds and the habitats that sustain them
            of Atlanta Audubon Society.
                                                                through education, conservation and advocacy.
2                                                                                                                                   Atlanta Audubon Society
                                        TRIP TEASE                                                                                      V

                          The Chattahoochee Nature Center
                                                    By Liz Hornsby
                              The Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) in Roswell offers a wide variety of bird habitats in
                              a compact “package.” In an unhurried walk of a couple of hours, it’s easy to include the
                              river edge and associated wetlands, forest of mixed pines and hardwoods, three ponds, and
                              miscellaneous edge areas and patches of shrubby undergrowth.
                              Two or three times a year, the CNC and AAS collaborate on bird walks. They start before the
                              center is open to the public and CNC docents (usually the deft and expert Stacy
                              Zarpentine) serve as leaders. The admission fee is waived for these walks.
                              The first stop on a typical walk is the west side of the Beaver Pond. There’s a pretty good
Pine Siskin                   chance of seeing a Wood Duck or two, and the surrounding woods usually have nuthatches,       Chattahoochee Nature Center
Photographer: Darlene Moore   small woodpeckers, and the occasional Pine Siskin. On one walk, we went partway up a          9135 Willeo Road
                              side trail and located a Great Horned Owl high up in a pine, thanks to Stacy’s knowledge of   Roswell, GA 30075
his general whereabouts.
                                                                                                                            From Roswell Road
Then it’s south to the foot of the pond, where a stretch of shrubby trees often attracts migrating warblers and has the     (Highway 9/U.S. 19):
potential for close-up viewing. Nearby and also popular with warblers, especially Common Yellowthroats, is the lushly       Heading north from Atlanta
overgrown ravine cut by the creek that flows from Beaver Pond down into Kingfisher Pond.                                    or I-285, at the first traffic light
                                                                                                                            after crossing the Chattahoochee
We pick up the paved walk winding among the Raptor Aviaries, which house rescued birds, from Barn Owls to Bald              River, turn left onto Azalea Drive.
Eagles, whose injuries or disabilities prevent them from being released back into the wild. (Stacy knows them               At the second traffic light, turn left
personally from volunteering in the Wildlife Department, and usually shares an anecdote or two about working with           onto Willeo Road. CNC is located
them.) From the main pavilion, we check out Kingfisher Pond, sometimes spotting its namesake. Once we also                  one-half mile on the right.
glimpsed an otter.                                                                                                          From GA 400 Northbound:
Across Willeo Road are the boardwalk and the river. Bearing west, we pass through a marshy area and spend some              Exit on Northridge (exit #6) and
time at an overlook on a large, pond-like backwater. Depending on the season and the water level, there may be a few        bear to the right, back over the
                                                                                                                            expressway. Immediately after
sandpipers, a flock of mixed ducks, or clouds of Rough-winged and Barn Swallows scarfing up insects. Usually there’s        crossing over 400, turn right onto
at least one Great Blue Heron and multiple Red-winged Blackbirds.                                                           Dunwoody Place. Follow Dunwoody
The boardwalk continues in a loop. To the outer side is the river, where highlights might include an Osprey and some        Place until it intersects with
Double-crested Cormorants; and a narrow, shallow backwater popular with Mallards and Canada Geese, which                    Roswell Road (1.2 miles). Turn
sometimes nest on its mini-islands. The encircled wetlands have scattered trees, assorted undergrowth, and marshy           right onto Roswell Road. At the
                                                                                                                            first traffic light after crossing the
spots of varying sogginess, attracting species as diverse as Brown Thrashers, Swamp Sparrows, Winter Wrens, Orchard         Chattahoochee River, turn left onto
Orioles, and assorted woodpeckers and warblers. On one trip we saw a raccoon sunning himself in a high fork of a            Azalea Drive. At the second traffic
river birch.                                                                                                                light, turn left onto Willeo Road.
Back across the road, we skirt the diminutive Frog Pond, checking its partial fringe of trees and undergrowth and           CNC is located one-half mile on the
typically seeing towhees and such, with a Green Heron on rare occasions. We conclude via a short back trail along
some pines where woodpeckers (including Redheads) and sapsuckers nest and/or hang out.                                      From GA 400 Southbound:
                                                                                                                            Exit Northridge Road (exit #6). At
Raptors, especially Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, may appear at pretty much any point along the walk.                the top of the ramp is a traffic
During migration, if you’re really lucky, you might catch one of the big flyovers of raptors or Sandhill Cranes,            light. Travel straight through the
sometimes numbering in the hundreds.                                                                                        traffic light onto Dunwoody Place.
                                                                                                                            Follow Dunwoody Place until it
The walk, a mixture of level stretches and moderate slopes, isn’t strenuous. But exercise caution if the boardwalks         intersects with Roswell Road (1.2
are wet from rain or dew -- they can be quite slippery.                                                                     miles). Turn right onto Roswell
You can also bird the CNC on your own during its regular hours or join one of its occasional birdwalks. Admission is        Road. At the first traffic light after
$8 for adults/$6 for seniors or free with membership. (The CNC is an independent nonprofit.)                                crossing the Chattahoochee River,
                                                                                                                            turn left onto Azalea Drive. At the
I usually stay a couple of extra hours after a CNC/AAS walk. Some trips I simply double back to morning hotspots and        second traffic light, turn left onto
other times I walk the east sides of Beaver and Kingfisher Ponds, where I’ve had some exceptional viewing of                Willeo Road. CNC is located one-
Pileated Woodpeckers, Cedar Waxwings, and both kinglets.                                                                    half mile on the right.
The CNC has many attractions besides birds. The big ponds are a reliable location for large groups of assorted turtles,     From Marietta and all points
and you can watch a half-dozen kinds of fish by looking over the main pavilion railings. Wildflowers include blue iris
                                                                                                                            Take Highway 120 (also called
and flame azalea in the spring. There are a wetland garden (pitcher plants, etc.) and a butterfly garden whose rail         Marietta Highway or Upper Roswell
fences are favorite basking spots for lizards.                                                                              Road) east toward the city of
The Discovery Center has excellent exhibits on the Chattahoochee River watershed and is interesting itself for              Roswell. Cross Johnson Ferry Road
innovative green construction. Amenities include restrooms, water fountains and a gift shop.                                and travel approximately four miles
                                                                                                                            to Willeo Road. At a traffic light,
The CNC does a mind-boggling amount of children’s programming and is no slouch with activities for grown-ups,               turn right onto Willeo Road. CNC is
either.                                                                                                                     located one mile on the right.
For details, including a map of the trail and boardwalk system, visit www.chattnaturecenter.org.

                    December 2011/January 2012                                                                                                                3
                                              September Field Notes                                                   by Terry Moorez

                     September was a pretty good month          another at Henderson Park in DeKalb Co. on 19 Sept.           SANDPIPERS scattered around the state and as many as
                     for birding in both the Atlanta and        (JSe). There were a number of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS               six WILSON’S PHALAROPES on Little St. Simons Island on
                        Georgia areas. Migration was at least   reported but the largest count was 177 in Roswell on 8        1 Sept. (LT).
                                                                Sept. (SZ). There were a total of five reports of OLIVE-
                        average if not above average and                                                                      GULLS THROUGH DOVES – A single LAUGHING GULL was
                                                                SIDED FLYCATCHERS from 1 Sept. through 14 Sept.
                  there were a number of rare sightings                                                                       a rather rare find on Lake Lanier on 6 Sept. (JFly). Also at
                                                                (m.ob.). Other flycatchers of note in the Atlanta area were
                 from around the state. Read on regarding                                                                     Lake Lanier were three SOOTY TERNS on 6 Sept. (JFly).
                                                                four YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS from 13 Sept.
                  the number of uncommon warblers and           through 25 Sept. and two ALDER FLYCATCHERS on 10              JSp had eight CASPIAN TERNS and 14 BLACK TERNS on
                flycatchers seen during the month.              and 11 Sept. (JG, EB).                                        Carter’s Lake on 7 Sept. Rare for GA was a WHITE-
                                                                                                                              WINGED DOVE in the Valdosta area on 26 Sept. (LM).
    The Atlanta area counted 175 species (average =             VIREOS – A BELL’S VIREO was a very rare report from
    161.4) to bring the year-to-date list to 248 (average =     Kennesaw Mt. National Battlefield Park (KMT) on 13 Sept.      FLYCATCHERS THROUGH VIREOS – OLIVE-SIDED
    239.9). The Georgia area came in with 216 species           (BZ). Another possible BELL’S VIREO was from DeKalb Co.       FLYCATCHERS were seen in the Macon area on 8 Sept.
    (average = 221.3) to bring that year-to-date total to       on 25 Sept. (PMcL). Other rare vireos included single         (JFleu) and Fannin Co. on 13 Sept. (NS). ALDER
    317 (average = 326.5).                                      WARBLING VIREOS at Henderson Park on 13 Sept.                 FLYCATCHERS were reported from the Athens area on 9
                                                                (PMcL, HG) and in Forsyth Co. on 14 Sept. (GM). Other         Sept. (RH) and from Lincoln Co. on 10 Sept. (JFly). There
                                                                rare PHILADELPHIA VIREOS were seen at the CRNRA on            were two reports of YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS
 ATLANTA AREA                                                   11 Sept. (JH et al.), at Henderson Park on 17 Sept. (JSe,     along with a possible BELL’S VIREO in the Macon area on
                                                                JB), in Bartow Co. on 23 Sept. (JSp) and back at the          30 Sept. (TMcC). Carter’s Lake proved to be a hot spot
 DUCKS THROUGH FALCONS – Six NORTHERN                                                                                         for vireos with several sightings of WARBLING and
 SHOVELERS were early in Bartow Co. on 6 Sept. (JMcN,           CRNRA on 25 Sept. (PMcL, KM).
                                                                                                                              PHILADELPHIA VIREOS from 11 through 29 Sept. (m.ob.)).
 NF). Very unusual for an inland location was an adult           WARBLERS THROUGH DICKCISSELS – There were a total
 male MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD at Sweetwater Creek               of five reports of NASHVILLE WARBLERS from 11 Sept.           WAXWINGS THROUGH DICKCISSEL – Three CEDAR
 State Park on 7 Sept. (PR). JSe reported an ANHINGA at         through 28 Sept. (m.ob.). NF had one of the best warbler      WAXWINGS were a good find on the UGA campus on 9
 the E.L. Huie Land Application Facility (ELHLAF) on 18         counts with the following from the CRNRA on 25 Sept. –        Sept. (JSe, HG, PB). Rare warbler sightings included a
 Sept.There were several reports of WHITE IBIS with the         22 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 14 MAGNOLIAS, 12                       NASHVILLE WARBLER in the Athens area on 24 Sept.
 peak count of nine at Lake Varner on 9 Sept. (JSe, HG,         CHESTNUT-SIDEDS and one WILSON’S WARBLER. A very              (MB, JN), WILSON’S WARBLERS in Fannin Co. on 13 Sept.
 PB). Fairly rare for the Atlanta area was a MISSISSIPPI        rare sighting was that of a MOURNING WARBLER at the           (JL), two in the Albany area on 14 Sept. (LG) and another
 KITE near Acworth on 7 Sept. (CS). A PEREGRINE FALCON          downtown Olympic Park from 22 through 27 Sept.                back in Athens on 30 Sept. (MB). Lastly, two DICKCISSELS
 was a good sighting in the Buckhead area on 7 Sept.            (m.ob.). A LINCOLN’S SPARROW was a good find in               were on the UGA Campus on 9 Sept. (JSe, HG, PB).
 (CC).                                                          Bartow Co. on 17 Sept. as was a DICKCISSEL at the             CONTRIBUTORS – Katharine Andregg, Mirko Basen, Eric
 SHOREBIRDS THROUGH TERNS – AMERICAN GOLDEN-                    CRNRA on 7 Sept. (JH et al.).                                 Beohm, Brad Bergstrom, Patrick Brisse, Jerry Brunner,
 PLOVERS were reported from Bartow Co. on 6 and 7               GEORGIA AREA                                                  Walt Chambers, Cameron Cox, Carl Crowley, Marion
 Sept. and from ELHLAF on 20 Sept. (m.ob.). Bartow Co.                                                                        Dobbs, Nathan Farnau, James Fleullan, Jim Flynn, Hugh
 played host to a wide variety of shorebirds with the           DUCKS THROUGH KITES – CM had a very impressive 120            and Liz Garrett, James Gibson, Krista Gridley, Larry
 following peak counts: three RUDDY TURNSTONES on 6             BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS at Darien on 22                 Gridley, Richard Hall, Theresa Hartz, James and Allison
                                                                Sept. The highest inland count of WOOD STORKS was 55          Healey, Liz Horsey, Cheryl Kanes, Rebecca Kerimbaev,
 Sept. (CK, KM), two SANDERLINGS on 6 Sept. (CK, KM),
                                                                at the Phinizy Swamp on 11 Sept. (LS). A GREAT WHITE          Joe LaFleur, Carol Lambert, Chris Lambrecht, Jeff
 five WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on 6 Sept. (JMcN, et              HERON was a very odd sighting from the Lake Lanier
 al.), two BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS from 7 Sept. to 26 Sept.          area on 6 Sept. (MMcS). Rare for the Georgia mountains        Madsen, Grant McCreary, Trey McCuen, Patty McLean,
 (m.ob.), and four STILT SANDPIPERS on 6 Sept. (JMcN,           were two SWALLOW-TAILED KITES and one MISSISSIPPI             John McMahan, Joel McNeal, Mark McShane, Max
 NF).Other sightings included small numbers of BUFF-            KITE on 3 Sept. in Fannin Co. (MD).                           Medley, Jenny Michaels, Kathy Miller, Peggy and Terry
 BREASTED SANDPIPERS in several locations plus three                                                                          Moore, Kathy Morrison, Linda Most, Charlie Muise,
 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS in Bartow Co. on 6 Sept.               SHOREBIRDS – Two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were                 James Neves, Paul Raney, Chuck Saleeby, Bob
 (JMcN, NF). Finally, there were two WILSON’S                   found in Morgan Co. on 18 Sept. (RK). Rare for inland         Sattelmeyer, Nedra Sekera, Jeff Sewell, Steve Slayton,
 PHALAROPES at the ELHLAF from 12 Sept. through 16              areas were 21 AMERICAN AVOCETS at the West Point              Joshua Spence, Lois Stacey, Paul Sykes, Lydia Thompson,
 Sept. (Cal) plus two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES in Bartow           Dam on 6 Sept. and nine at Carter’s Lake on 16 Sept.          Dan Vickers, Rich Williams, Bob Zaremba, and Stacey
 Co. from 6 through 9 Sept. (m.ob.).Two SOOTY TERNS             (CK). Other interesting shorebird reports were five           Zarpentine.
 were rare sightings at Tidwell Park on 7 Sept. (JFly).         UPLAND SANDPIPERS at Marshallville on 5 Sept. (MMcS,
                                                                MM), four SANDERLINGS at West Point Dam on 6 Sept.            Terry Moore, 13000 Bucksport Ct., Roswell, GA 30075 –
 CUCKOOS THROUGH FLYCATCHERS – One BLACK-BILLED                 (WC), 11 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS in Greene Co.                tsmoore@bellsouth.net
 CUCKOO was seen at the Chattahoochee River National            (JSe, HG, PG), small numbers of BUFF-BREASTED
 Recreation Area (CRNRA) on 7 and 9 Sept.(H&LG, SS) and

2012 AAS Photo Contest Continued from front page
Technical difficulty refers to how hard that shot is to get. A Great Blue                      something a little different yet still sharp and well-lit (like this year’s
Heron standing in the water at a pond – that’s easy. A soaring raptor is a                     ptarmigan and Piping Plover winners). Some angles are just bad. If the
little harder, a moving warbler is even harder, and a fast-flying duck is also                 bird’s head is turned away from the camera, that shot is almost never going
more difficult. So the standing heron won’t get many points because it’s                       to be good enough in other aspects to overcome that deficiency.
easy, but a well-lit, crisp flying duck would get lots of extra consideration                  So what does this all mean? It means      Question:
because it is hard to get.                                                                     you will have to work a little harder to  How did the
The next criterion, relative difficulty, is about the rarity or wariness of the                get the winning shot. Go a little farther   fictitious
subject in question. Our Great Blue Heron at the pond is common, not shy                       afield, work on the warier and less        British agent
at all, and is, again, very easy to photograph. A well-lit crisp shot of a Black               common species and maybe even learn         007 get his
Rail would be an awesome photo because they are so rare and so hard to                         a little about your quarry to help you          name?
get photos of.                                                                                 get that edge… and above all, enjoy         See page 7 for answer
                                                                                               yourself. Good luck!
Creative angles can also be very interesting, if you can come up with
4                                                                                                                                      Atlanta Audubon Society
                                   Field Trips                          Compiled by Iris Schumacher and Susan Breuning

                                Field trips are open to the public and free (unless otherwise noted). We welcome
                                everyone from beginners to advanced birders. Please check the Atlanta Audubon
                                website (www.atlantaaudubon.org) for additional December/January field trips
  Sketch by Anne McCallum
                                                            that may be scheduled.
   If you would like to lead a field trip, volunteer to help with the Field Trip Committee, contribute ideas for places to go, or give feedback about
                             leaders or trips, please email Susan Breunig or Iris Schumacher, Field Trips Coordinators,
                                              at sbreunig@stmartins.org or irisschumacher@bellsouth.net.
    Note: For up-to-date information about field trips, go to atlantaaudubon.org. It is wise to check this website to make sure no changes have
      occurred in the schedule of trips. Frequently trips are added after the newsletter deadline has passed. All trips are open to the public. No
          reservations are necessary except where indicated below. The only fees that apply are those charged for entrance to any venue.
Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 AM and                             15 miles south of downtown) to exit 233. Turn left  Liz Hornsby
Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 AM                                 at the end of the exit ramp onto Highway            Birding Focus: Winter and permanent residents,
Piedmont Park                                          54/Jonesboro road (north). After 0.7 miles, turn    including waterfowl, raptors, and woodpeckers.
Rob McDonough                                          left at the light onto Reynolds Road and go 1.2     Note: Meet at the start of the trail at the parking
Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent and winter         miles. The preserve parking lot is on the left –    lot of the Interstate North Parkway entrance to
residents.                                             almost immediately after a curve to the left.       Cochran Shoals. There is a parking fee of $3 (or
Directions: From 10th Street and Peachtree,                                                                annual pass) at this site. Bring waterproof
travel east on 10th St. several blocks to Piedmont.    Saturday, Dec. 17, 8 AM                             footwear, for walking on wet grass.
Turn left (north) on Piedmont for about two            Sweetwater Creek State Park                         Directions: Take I-285 to the Northside-Powers
blocks. You will see Quattro’s and Willy’s eateries    1750 Mount Vernon Road, Lithia Springs              Ferry Road exit (exit 22). Going west on I-285,
on your right. We will meet in the parking lot         (Douglas County)                                    turn right at the first light onto Interstate North
directly behind this building.                         Phil Delestrez and Marge Igyarto                    Parkway. Stay in the middle lane of this road and
Parking: There are parking spaces in the               Meet at the Office/Interpretive Center inside the go straight through the traffic light. After the road
designated lot, but parking is also available on       park.                                               crosses the river, make an immediate right to the
11th St. across Piedmont Ave. from the                 Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent and winter parking lot marked by “Cochran Shoals Unit.”
Community Center. The Atlanta Botanical Garden         residents of wetlands and forest, including         Going east on I-285, take the Northside-Powers
Parking Garage is also an option (enter from           herons, Wood Ducks, warblers, thrushes, and         Ferry Road exit (#22) on the right and stay in the
Piedmont Ave. north of the Community Center            vireos.                                             left lane of the exit ramp. Go to the second light,
across from the Prado – fee approx. $4 for two         Notes: With its falls, overlooks, and lake,         then turn left (north). Stay in the middle lane of
hours). From the Gardens, walk through                 Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia’s most- this road as it crosses the bridge over I-285 and
Piedmont Park and around Lake Clara Meer on            visited state park and is the closest state park to veer to the right to get into the middle lane as the
either side until you get to the Community Center      the city of Atlanta. It offers a diverse birding    road bends to the left and passes through a traffic
on Piedmont Ave. across from 11th St.                  habitat of woodlands, streams, wetlands,            light. At this point you are on Interstate North
                                                       grasslands and a large lake. There is a $5 state    Parkway. Continue with instructions above.
Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 AM                                 park fee per vehicle.
Dawson Forest                                          Directions: Take I-20 west from Atlanta, to Exit Saturday, Jan. 14, 8 AM
Georgann Schmalz                                       #44 at Thornton Road, which is the third exit west Sweetwater Creek State Park
Carpooling to Dawson Forest from Wild Birds            of I-285. Turn left onto Thornton Road and go 1/4 1750 Mount Vernon Road, Lithia Springs
Unlimited on Quill Road off GA 400.                    mile. Turn right on Blair’s Bridge Road, and after (Douglas County)
Birding Focus: Wintering sparrows, creepers,           2.1 miles at a 4-way stop, turn left on Mount       Phil Delestrez and Marge Igyarto
nuthatches and other birds. This will be a good        Vernon Road and proceed to park.                    Meet at the Office/Interpretive Center inside the
prep for anyone helping out with the Christmas                                                             park.
Bird Count.                                            Saturday, Dec. 17, 9 AM                             Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent and winter
Directions: From Atlanta, take GA 400 North.           Big Creek Greenway, Alpharetta                      residents of wetlands and forest, including
We will be meeting at the Wild Birds Unlimited on      (Fulton County)                                     herons, Wood Ducks, warblers, thrushes, and
Quill Road just off GA 400 and south of Dawson         Nikki Belmonte and Alicia Evans                     vireos.
Forest Road. It’s in the shopping center on the        Birding Focus: Winter and permanent residents, Notes: With its falls, overlooks, and lake,
right (east side of 400) with the Outside World.       woodpeckers, raptors, waterfowl.                    Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia’s most-
We are meeting there and then carpooling over to       Note: This walk is geared towards beginner          visited state park and is the closest state park to
Dawson Forest WMA.                                     birders and kids age 7 and up (with an adult), but the city of Atlanta. It offers a diverse birding
                                                       all are welcome. Binoculars will be available to    habitat of woodlands, streams, wetlands,
Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 AM                                borrow. Species count at Starbucks afterwards!      grasslands and a large lake. There is a $5 state
Reynolds Nature Preserve                               Directions: We will meet at the entrance to the park fee per vehicle.
5665 Reynolds Road, Morrow                             greenway in the AMC Mansell Crossings parking Directions: Take I-20 west from Atlanta, to Exit
(Clayton County)                                       lot. From SR 400, take Exit 8, Mansell Road. Head #44 at Thornton Road, which is the third exit west
Anne McCallum                                          east on Mansell Road for 1/8 mile and take first    of I-285. Turn left onto Thornton Road and go 1⁄4
Birding focus: A 146-acre tract in the heart of        left onto North Point Parkway (stay in the right- mile. Turn right on Blair’s Bridge Road, and after
Clayton County, Reynolds Preserve hosts a good         hand left turn lane). Take first right into AMC     2.1 miles at a 4-way stop, turn left on Mount
selection of resident birds, Pileated Woodpecker,      parking lot. Drive back towards far right corner of Vernon Road and proceed to park.
and Barred Owl. A wide level trail leads into the      lot past Burger King and park.
forest and along three ponds. The preserve has                                                             Saturday, Jan. 21, 8 AM
been actively combating invasive plants for the        Monday, Jan. 9, 8 AM and                            Chattahoochee River National Recreation
last five years, and it is now one of the few places   Thursday, Jan. 19, 8 AM                             Area—Cochran Shoals Unit
in the Atlanta urban area to see a remarkable          Chattahoochee River National Recreation             (Cobb County)
sample of the eastern deciduous climax forest.         Area—Cochran Shoals Unit                            Misty Holm and Iris Schumacher
Directions: From Atlanta, take I-75 south (about       (Cobb County)                                       Birding Focus: Winter and permanent residents,
                                                                                                                                    continued on back page

                  December 2011/January 2012                                                                                                              5
                                     Eyes on Education
                                                                  By Nikki Belmonte
As we approach our 40th year as an organization, we have much to celebrate in the area of education.
Atlanta Audubon Society continues to offer comprehensive birding workshops and field trips while
expanding opportunities in youth education. Check out the 2012 Calendar on page 8. AAS is
emerging as a leader in regional environmental education and innovative programming. This is a team
effort; we could not have gotten here without our dedicated volunteers and instructors.
I would like to give special thanks to the following individuals who made large contributions of time to
the education program in 2011: Lisa and Art Hurt, Georgann Schmalz, Theresa Hartz, Giff Beaton, Jim
Wilson, Carl Tyler, Tim Keyes, Bob Sargent, Charlie Muise, Diane LaCole, Eddie Hatchett, Sandy Miller,                  Nikki Belmonte and frequent volunteer
                                                                                                                        Tom Blaisdell at Backyard Sanctuary Tour
Nancy Hamilton, Jim Flynn, Diane Hawkins-Cox, and the ladies at CopyPrep.                                               Photographer: Ellen Honeycutt
                                    Thank you all and happy holidays!

                                                     Flying WILD Workshop
                            Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, 6-8 PM and Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, 9 AM-5 PM
                           Confederate Hall Historical and Environmental and Education Center,
                                                 Stone Mountain Park, GA
                     Through a partnership between AAS, Stone Mountain Memorial Association and the Georgia Ornithological Society,
                     facilitators Nikki Belmonte and Susan Meyers are happy to offer this 10-hour workshop that will train educators to offer Flying WILD.
Flying WILD introduces students to bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects, encouraging
schools to work closely with conservation organizations, community groups, and businesses.
Flying WILD targets middle school aged students. However, educators of upper elementary through high school students and scouts are encouraged to
attend. Training participants will receive Flying WILD: An Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds and a host of other resources. For classroom teachers,
one (1) PLU may be earned upon completion of this workshop.
To register, please download an Atlanta Audubon Society registration form at www.atlantaaudubon.org. Mail the completed form with payment of $25 to
Atlanta Audubon Society, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342. Your completed registration with payment confirms your seat in the class. Questions may
be directed to Nikki at atlantaauduboned@gmail.com or 678.973.2437.

                                             Home School Spring Flockings
A new series of programs for home school students and their families! Workshops will take place at the AAS office at Blue Heron Nature
       Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta. These classes are timed to provide some preparation for those participating in the
                                              Youth Birding Competition on April 27-28.
“Common Birds of Georgia” Tuesday,                  “They’re Back! Spring Migrants”                      “Exploring Bird Habitat”
Feb. 28, 10 AM – 12 PM                              Tuesday, April 17, 10 AM – 12 PM                     Tuesday, May 15,
Join an AAS naturalist for a hands-on               Join an AAS naturalist to investigate mysteries      10 AM – 12 PM
presentation about common birds of Georgia.         of migration and some common migratory birds         Join an AAS naturalist to
Students will learn how to identify at least 10     that pass through Georgia, or make it their          explore the components of
species of birds by sight and sound, how to use     summer home. Students will explore concepts          habitat and the roles that Pileated Woodpecker
binoculars and field guides, and how to record      of migration through games, learn how to             birds play in the Georgia Photographer:
                                                                                                                                      Iris Schumacher
data on bird sightings.                             identify several migratory birds, practice using     Piedmont. Students will
                                                    binoculars and field guides, and learn ways to       demonstrate the habitat needs of birds,
                                                    track their bird observations.                       investigate bird habitats on the preserve, and
                                                                                                         practice mapping skills and using binoculars.

    Activities are aligned with science Georgia Performance Standards for grades 1-5 (age range 7-12 years old). Rain or shine. Cost for each class:
                                   $6/student for AAS members, $8/student for non-members, no discounts for siblings.
To register, please download an Atlanta Audubon Society registration form at www.atlantaaudubon.org. Mail the completed form with payment to Atlanta
            Audubon Society, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342. Your completed registration with payment confirms your seat in the class.
                                  Questions may be directed to Nikki at atlantaauduboned@gmail.com or 678.973.2437.
6                                                                                                               Atlanta Audubon Society
             Live and Learn with these AAS Workshops
            2012 Warbler Weekend Workshop                                                                    Shorebird Workshop 2012
                           Ever have trouble identifying those flitting warblers high                                      Witness a spectacular event that occurs each
                           in the trees? Do you wonder who’s singing that song?                                            spring on our Georgia Coast.
                           The North Georgia Mountains host over 20 breeding                                               Get ready for Atlanta Audubon’s Shorebird
                           warblers, and this workshop will cover them all.                                                Workshop, May 11, 12, & 13, 2012. Once again
                           Atlanta Audubon Society is again pleased to announce                                            AAS is scheduling this workshop to coincide with
                           the 2012 Warbler Weekend Workshop. This two-part              Participants in this year’s       the spawning of horseshoe crabs and shorebird
                           workshop consists of a comprehensive class session and        shorebird workshop birding at St. migration on our Georgia Coast.
                            a weekend field trip.                                        Catherines Sound
                                                                                                                           The two-part workshop consists of a class
Prairie Warbler                                                                          Photographer: Leigh McDougal
Photographer: Dan Vickers To introduce you to the warblers, there will be an in-                                           session on shorebird identification, March 11,
                            depth, three-hour class session at the Blue Heron Nature taught by Georgann Schmalz, AAS’s resident ornithologist, at The Blue Heron Nature
Preserve taught by Georgia’s premier warbler expert, Giff Beaton. The class will      Preserve, 2 PM – 4 PM, and coastal field trips and class session in May. Highlights
concentrate on the key identification characteristics of the warbler species, as well will be a Friday evening class taught by Tim Keyes, wildlife biologist for the Georgia
as tips to song recognition. The class will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012 from    Department of Natural Resources, a Saturday boat trip into St. Catherines Sound,
2:30 PM to 5:30 PM.                                                                   (weather permitting), a Sunday morning romp around Jekyll Island with Lydia
The two-day weekend field trip will be led by Theresa Hartz and Leslie Curran on      Thompson, coastal naturalist and a field trip to Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge. There
May 19 and 20 in the North Georgia Mountains where it’s possible to find 20+          will be two full days of birding on May 12 and May 13.
species of warblers, many of which will be singing on their breeding grounds. We      Trip cost will be $225 per person for AAS members; $250 for non-members. This
will visit the mountain “hot spots” such as Burrell’s Ford Road, Ivy Log Gap Road,    does not include food and lodging.
Brasstown Bald, Sosebee Cove and others.                                              Participants will be limited to 14. To register, download a registration form at
The cost (excluding food and lodging) is $135 for Atlanta Audubon members and            www.atlantaaudubon.org and send your completed form with payment to the AAS
$185 for non-members. Your payment confirms your reservation.                            office at 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342. Payment confirms your
This will be limited to 12 participants. To register, download a registration form at    registration.
www.atlantaaudubon.org and send your completed form with payment to the AAS              For more info contact Lisa Hurt – email: artlisahurt@bellsouth.net, phone: (H)
office at 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342.                                          770.934.7660 (C) 678.233.4293.
For more information, contact Theresa Hartz – email: jthartz50@gmail.com, phone:
706.579.3350 or cell: 678.936.0785.

       Winter Master Birder Begins Feb. 4, 2012                                                         Becoming a Better Birder is Back!
 If you missed out on this fall’s Master Birder course (see photo on back page), AAS                                 Start off a new year of birding with confidence! Join
 is happy to bring back the winter session! This introductory course in ornithology                                  Georgann Schmalz for a two-hour workshop on
 provides participants with bird identification skills and general knowledge of birds,                               improving your birding skills. This class is a must for any
 their life histories and habitat requirements. Upon graduation, each Master Birder is                               new birder who feels somewhat overwhelmed by the
 expected to complete annual volunteer service for Atlanta Audubon.                                                  birding skills of other more advanced birders.
 Orientation will be Saturday, Feb. 4, and classes are taught on Mondays and                                          Becoming a Better Birder covers aspects of birding that a
 Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9 PM from Feb. 6 to March 7, with Saturday field trips.                                      novice birder usually needs to learn by experience in the
 Graduation will be Saturday, March 10. The course fee of $250 for members of             A “better birder” could ID
                                                                                                                       field and often does not. Time will be spent learning good
 Atlanta Audubon ($275 non-members) includes lectures, books, audio CDs and a             these three!                 techniques of birding in the field and choosing good
 comprehensive binder of information.                                                     Photographer:                optics, books and sound devices. Not only will
 For information and questions, email Georgann Schmalz at                                 Iris Schumacher              participants develop key identification skills under
 georgannschmalz@windstream.net.                                                                                       Georgann’s expert guidance, they will also experience
                                                                                          the satisfaction that better birding can yield.
                                                                                          Georgann holds a master’s degree in ornithology, taught at Fernbank Science
                                                                                          Center for 29 years, and is three-time past president of AAS. She is a wealth of
                               Answer:                                                    information and entertainment.
             Author Ian Fleming named Agent 007
             after ornithologist James Bond, author of                                    This workshop will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12, from 1-3 PM at the AAS office
             a field guide to the birds of the                                            located at 4055 Roswell Road in Atlanta. The cost is $35 for AAS members and $40
             West Indies. Fleming, an avid                                                for non-members.
             birder, was looking for a
             brief, strong and masculine                                                  The number of participants will be limited, so secure your spot now by downloading
             name when he happened to                                                     a registration form at www.atlantaaudubon.org and sending your completed form
             spy his copy of Bond’s field guide.                                          with payment to the AAS office.
                                                                                          For more info, visit our website or contact Nikki Belmonte at
                                                                                          AtlantaAudubonEd@gmail.com or 678.973.2437.

                     December 2011/January 2012                                                                                                                              7
                           Rates for 2.5” x 2.5” ads are $20/month or $45/quarter. Ads must be consistent with the conservation and
                            birding mission of Atlanta Audubon Society. Ads may be accepted via email, preferably in .pdf format.
                                                             Call 678.973.2437 if you have questions.
                              Send payment to Wingbars Ads, Atlanta Audubon Society, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342.
                                              Send ads via email to Jamie Hawk, jamie.hawk@atlantaaudubon.org.

                                                              Affordable Housing    When You Come
                                                              and Feeders for      To The Mountains -
                                                                                   Ask about the new Birder’s Guide to Fannin County!
                                                              Birds, Bats and      We feature Cole’s seed,
                                                              Butterflies          squirrel-proof feeders
                                                                                   that truly are, houses,
                                                                                   hummingbird stuff,
                                                                                   great books, Audubon
     112th                               Basic, functional and long-lasting        optics, & hard to find
                                                                                   hardware. Plus – 100’s
                                                  cedar products                   of Ravensburger Puzzles,
Annual National                                                                    Music of the Spheres
                                                                                   Chimes & a huge

   Audubon                           Workshop Creations, Inc.                      selection of educational
                                                                                   toys and
                                                                                   games for kids!
                                     Order on our website:
    Society                           Website: www.workshopcreations.com              Downtown Blue Ridge & Inside Mercier Orchards
                                      E-Mail: sales@workshopcreations.com
Christmas Bird                        Tel: 770-448-5363 Fax: 770-448-5363                 611 E. Main St. • Blue Ridge, GA 30513
                                                                                     (706) 258-BIRD (2473) • blueridgebirdseed.com
    Count                            P.O. Box 921455, Norcross, GA 30010

    Dec. 14, 2011 –
      Jan. 5, 2012
                                                             2012 WORKSHOP CALENDAR
  This year marks the
      112th Annual
  Audubon Christmas
                              Jan. 27-28         Flying WILD Educator Training
   Bird Count (CBC)
   season. If you are         Feb. 4
      interested in           through            Winter Master Birder
participating in any of       March 10
  the counts, contact         Feb. 11            Backyard Sanctuary Certifier Workshop for Master Birders
 the compiler as soon         Feb. 12            Becoming a Better Birder with Georgann Schmalz
as possible. You must         Feb. 25            Youth Birding Competition Prep Workshop
 sign up in advance to        Feb. 28            Home School Flocking: Common Birds of Georgia
   participate so that        March 10           Beginning Birding for Kids
 areas can be planned
and assigned. This is a       March 11           Shorebirds Workshop with Georgann Schmalz
 great way to spend a         March 27           Feathery Friends Preschool Class
day with the birds and        April 15           Warbler Workshop with Giff Beaton
 fellow birders during        April 17           Home School Flocking; They’re Back! Spring Migrants
  the holiday season,         May 15             Home School Flocking: Exploring Bird Habitat
 while contributing to
                              May 22             Feathery Friends Preschool Class
  important bird data
 collection. To see the                                 Summer-Fall Outlook
      schedule for                             Learning About Birds Curriculum Training
2011/2012 and the list                     Summer Tree ID for Birders with Chris Showalter
     of compilers of                    Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia with Giff Beaton
 Georgia CBC’s, go to                        Raptor Identification with Georgann Schmalz
     http://gos.org/cbc/                Backyard Sanctuary Certification with Georgann Schmalz
     112schedule.html.                                     Fall Master Birder
                                                          Sparrow Workshop

8                                                                                                Atlanta Audubon Society
                               Georgia Saltmarsh Sparrow Beats the Banding Odds
                                              Reprinted from Georgia Wild, the e-newsletter of the
                                               Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
                                                 Available at http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/2804
                                        Saltmarsh Sparrows are called secretive, quiet and vulnerable. This species of sharp-tailed sparrow
                                        nests in saltmarshes along the north and mid-Atlantic Coast, wetlands threatened by rising sea levels
                                        and other changes such as development. The nests are especially susceptible to flooding because
                                        they are built in the marsh grasses.
                                        But, as for secretive, one Saltmarsh Sparrow became less of a mystery in September. Caught, banded
                                        and released on the Jekyll Island causeway in January, the bird was recaptured by researchers near
                                        Madison, Conn., on Sept. 15. The site is well within the species’ breeding range. The bird also may
                                        have been migrating south, possibly returning to Georgia’s coastal marshes where many Saltmarsh
Researchers netting birds on Jekyll
Island                                  Sparrows winter.
Photography courtesy GA DNR             Project leader and DNR wildlife biologist Tim Keyes knows of only five “long-distance” recaptures of
                                        Saltmarsh Sparrows. Also, the rule of thumb for most songbird banding is one recapture for every
                                        thousand birds banded, Keyes said. Yet, this Saltmarsh Sparrow was one of 59 banded in Georgia last
                                        winter, along with 80 Nelson’s Sparrows, the other sharp-tailed sparrow species.
                                        The project included coastal sites from Jekyll to Tybee Island and involved Atlanta Audubon Society,
                                        the Center for Conservation Biology and many volunteers. It also marked a first for Georgia, Keyes
                                        Repeated this winter, the work will probe the species’ site fidelity, distribution and other issues,
The recaptured Saltmarsh Sparrow        adding to growing research of these small birds.
Photography courtesy GA DNR
                                        Research that now includes a 1-in-1,000 sparrow documented in two places 1,000 miles apart.

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                                                                                                                                                MEMBERSHIP FOR 2012
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If you are not a member of AAS, please take this opportunity to fill out and return the form below.
                                                                                                                                                           prefer, our website at
                                                                                                                                                  online by visitinggo to
                                                                                                                                                atlantaaudubon.org, click on
                                                                                                                                                  www.atlantaaudubon.org and
                                                                                                                                                  “Join/Renew AAS online,”
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                     December 2011/January 2012                                                                                                                               9
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                                                                              Field Trips continued from page 5
           Fall 2011 Master Birders                                           including waterfowl, raptors, woodpeckers and sparrows.
Atlanta Audubon welcomes the latest class of Master Birders.                  Note: Please note that this walk is geared towards beginner birders
                                                                              and kids age 7 and up (with an adult), but all are welcome.
They graduated cum laude on Nov. 5 and are eager to meet                      Binoculars will be available to borrow. Meet at the start of the trail at
other MBs to enjoy their latest passion of birding.                           the parking lot of the Interstate North Parkway entrance to Cochran
Once again, a big thanks to our instructors, Theresa Hartz, Lisa              Shoals. There is a parking fee of $3 (or annual pass) at this site. Bring
                                                                              waterproof footwear, for walking on wet grass.
Hurt, Diane LaCole, Charlie Muise and Georgann Schmalz for                    Directions: Take I-285 to the Northside-Powers Ferry Road exit
their time and talents. Also AAS Education Coordinator Nikki                  (exit 22). Going west on I-285, turn right at the first light onto
Belmonte for assistance in the class preparation.                             Interstate North Parkway. Stay in the middle lane of this road and go
                                                                              straight through the traffic light. After the road crosses the river,
If you’d like to join this elite class of birders, see page seven for         make an immediate right to the parking lot marked by “Cochran
information about the winter Master Birder course.                            Shoals Unit.” Going east on I-285, take the Northside-Powers Ferry
                                                                              Road exit (#22) on the right and stay in the left lane of the exit ramp.
                                                                              Go to the second light, then turn left (north). Stay in the middle lane
                                                                              of this road as it crosses the bridge over I-285 and veer to the right to
                                                                              get into the middle lane as the road bends to the left and passes
                                                                              through a traffic light. At this point you are on Interstate North
                                                                              Parkway. Continue with instructions above.

                                                                              Saturday, Jan. 28, 8 AM
                                                                              E.L. Huie/Newman Wetlands Center
                                                                              2755 Freeman Road, Hampton, GA 30228
                                                                              Iris Schumacher and Anne McCallum
                                                                              Birding Focus: migratory songbirds, shorebirds & raptors
                                                                              Note: Meet in Newman Wetlands Center parking lot
                                                                              Directions: Take I-75 south beyond I-285 to U.S. 19/41 (Tara Blvd.,
                                                                              exit 235); drive south for 8.2 miles to Freeman Road and turn left.
                                                                              The Newman Wetlands Center is 2.5 miles
  Left to right front row: Diane LaCole, instructor; Kelly Floress; Barbara
                                                                              down Freeman Road on the right after a sharp turn. Call the
  Reeves; Lisa Hurt, instructor; Gina Charles; Angie Jenkins; Rebecca
                                                                              Wetlands Center for information about birding at both sites:
  Kerimbaev; Cindy Mayer
  Back row: Warren Walter, Ginger Dornburg, Jim Segars, Chrishanna
  Desrosiers, Jamie Hawk, Debra Sommers

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