Amid the sprawl of Atlanta is a tranquil 28-acre suburban oasis where we love to bird with our family each time we visit. It is home to beavers, otters, frogs, and numerous birds. Mark grew up exploring the property, which a neighborhood organization has managed since 1995.
Spring and fall bring neotropical migrants. We love to prowl the woodland trails in search of warblers, grosbeaks, and orioles. Fox Sparrows and Winter Wrens skulk in the underbrush near the entrance in winter. The observation deck at the beaver pond offers views of American Bitterns, Wood Ducks, Marsh Wrens, and Swamp and Song Sparrows when the pond is dry. Shorebirds such as Solitary Sandpipers drop in during migration. A Belted Kingfisher captivated us once as it tackled a fish seemingly too large to swallow.
The preserve’s most exciting experience is the American Woodcock’s courtship display on January and February evenings. Follow the boardwalks eastward until the trail gets muddy. Where it runs between two small ponds, you’ve found the magic spot for one of nature’s amazing shows. — Mark and Selena Kiser
Mark and Selena Kiser are the project coordinator and assistant, respectively, for the Great Florida Birding Trail, a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They described birdwatching at Stormwater Treatment Area 5 in our April 2009 issue. Mark Kiser also wrote about Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, Christmas, Florida, Hotspot Near You No. 37.