Since I needed to be at the park by 8:00am on a Saturday, there was very little traffic when I headed out. As a result, I decided to roll straight down 10th Street between my place and the park.
Even during normal traffic conditions, Piedmont Park is quite convenient to access by bike, either via the BeltLine or by taking Myrtle or Charles Allen to the 10th Street cycletrack. If riding MARTA, there are quick rides from Arts Center, Midtown, or North Avenue station.
Distance: 1.9 miles
Traffic: Very little, because of time of day
Lately I've been trying to learn more about what I'm seeing when I look at nature, so I've been attending informative events put on by groups all over town. This weekend I decided to try out an Atlanta Audubon Society field trip for the first time. This was my first time ever birding.
I met the group leader, Jason Ward, and the other birders at the Piedmont Park community center. There was another complete newbie there, so I didn't feel alone. Jason looked at his numbers from previous walks in Piedmont Park at the same time of year, and we set a goal to see 45 species over the walk that was estimated to last 3 hours and cover 2.5 miles.
Soon, we set out. This was one of the first mornings of the year that had felt like Fall, with the temperature being around 55ºF at the beginning of our walk. We meandered around the park, checking out the different bird habitats. There was a 5K happening in the park with some loud music, which meant some of the birds had relocated to different areas of the park than they would usually be in.
I had a great time my first time birding. The group was super chill, they were friendly to newbies, and some of the more experienced birders would add helpful tidbits about how to recognize birds or the behaviors of different species. I personally saw 29 species, while the group as a whole saw 44.
I also thought it was pretty neat to go birding in what is probably the most visited park in Atlanta. There were different types of birds in different areas of the park. Jason mentioned that he thinks that Piedmont Park has great birds, but that most birders neglect it because they don't expect it to.
Jason does a Piedmont Park bird walk the first Saturday of every month, and I felt like it was a great first birding experience. I recommend checking it out. The Atlanta Audubon Society has a list of their field trips online with more information about each. They also have a checklist of birds in Atlanta available on their website.
I wanted to take some photos for this site, so in the afternoon, I covered most of the same ground again. I took a lot of photos of the park's large tulip poplars, magnolias, and pecans. The weather was quite nice, so I stayed out a long time. More photos are available on my Piedmont Park page.
Finally, I wandered up and down the BeltLine interim hiking trail that follows along the East side of Piedmont Park between 10th Street and Montgomery Ferry.
Combining the hike and the bird walk, my phone recorded 27,439 steps and 8.6 miles.
To come back, I took a little detour through the park and then took my default route of cycletrack -> Myrtle -> 5th Street and then through Georgia Tech.
Distance: 3.8 miles