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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

today's birding / Hotspots around Rome

Inquired and received a detailed reply. The first bird here was a lifer for me, a Black Vulture over 75N!!! Traffic was horrendous though, so arrived from the airport at Kennesaw at 6pm(Alamo was great). Still managed to spot Rose breasted Grosbeak(mom feeding a downy young right in front of me!), Brown Thrasher and Broad winged Hawk :)
So spotted around 20 species methinks.
So finally got to eat a meal since morning after birding Kennesaw, at 8pm. Of course you can't eat during flight, and didn't have time to eat at the Atlanta airport. Drove straight to Kennesaw lol(I did say desperado birding!). And witnessed OKC losing at the store(had TV!) aside the gas station after enquiring about the correct route to Rome(got lost! He was very helpful, so arrived safely). Watched from the mid 3rd to late 4th, Russell was doing a Kobe, launching 3s too often. Too bad, but I'll wear his jersey when I'm visiting Norman. :)

Unlike the West hummers seem rare here. Ruby throated haven't migrated much from the Gulf?

Now which hotspot should I conquer tomorrow morning :)

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Thanks for reaching out. What a great time to visit the area, especially if you've never been east! Things are just really starting to pick up.

There are some spots on campus that would be worth checking out. First of all, there is a nesting pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers at the island in the parking area behind the science building, McCallister. What a great bird! You can't miss them; they are very active at their cavity site among the tall Beeches (34.288593, -85.189761). You could even walk from the courts to see them. 

Victory Lake is another great spot on campus for songbirds (34.296852, -85.196887). A quick walk around the "lake" can yield some good eastern birds. It's really more of a marsh, and there has been a singing Prothonotary Warbler there lately.

Possum Trot Road is on mountain campus (34.3157481,-85.242362). This is a gravel road with views of nice open pastures and some farm ponds. Bobolinks should be around now, and this is a great spot for them. They can also be found in the pastures on main campus, as can Eastern Meadowlark, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Kingbird, etc.

Swainson's is a hard bird to get. It's actually one of my Floyd County nemeses. I believe the best area to try is on the greenway (34.286921, -85.166484). It's not too far from Berry, and there are likely some males singing on territory. Most disapprove of playback use for this species. Horseleg Creek road is not very conducive to birding; there's not much of a shoulder, and there's a lot of traffic. It may be possible to park at the Marshall Forest Preserve parking area and walk along the road from there, but I would not advise this.

Marshall Forest (34.244656, -85.196017) is a great spot for warblers, thrushes, and tanagers. You should walk the loop up the ridge; it's not too intensive or time consuming.

Georgia Highlands and Arrowhead are the best hotspots in the county. A lot can be seen at these locations. Arrowhead really heats up during the first week of May, but it could be worth checking out now. It's a little ways north from Rome though. Georgia Highlands is birdy all day, even in the afternoon. Make sure to walk the boardwalk if you go there. Many of your targets, i.e. Towhee and Red-bellied can be seen here or elsewhere. Unfortunately Bobwhites are hard to come by, but they can be heard at Arrowhead.

If you are willing to bird in the Atlanta area, Kennesaw is an absolute must! It's an unparalleled neotropical migrant trap. It would be worth walking the road up to the top by yourself, and you'll likely encounter some birders. The views into the canopy are much less obstructed than they are at places like Cooper's Furnace.

Good luck at your matches and in Floyd! Let me know if you have any other questions.

John Patten

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