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Wetlands center offering Sunday birdwatching walks

Trips begin this weekend

Visitors at the Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center look for birds and other types of wildlife in its marshes Friday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Visitors at the Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center look for birds and other types of wildlife in its marshes Friday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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A small bird looks for food in a birdfeeder at the Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center in Hampton Friday. The Atlanta Audubon Society will offer birdwatching walks every Sunday this month. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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While visitors to the Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center can see a multitude of birds, other types of wildlife, such as deer, can be found as well. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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The Atlanta Audubon Society will offer free birdwatching walks every Sunday this month at the Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center in Hampton. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

JONESBORO — Look up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s — oh wait, it really is a bird.

Clayton County residents can visit the Newman Wetlands Center on Sunday mornings this month and see migratory birds that visit to nest during the summer. The Clayton County Water Authority has announced it will offer weekly bird watching tours hosted by the Atlanta Audubon Society at the center, 2755 Freeman Road in Hampton.

The tours will begin at 9 a.m. and are expected to finish around noon.

Audubon-hosted bird watching trips at the wetlands typically include visits to the E.L. Huie Treatment Facility. The two sites are praised on the Atlanta Audubon Society’s website, www.atlantaaudubon.org, as top bird-watching sites. The group calls the Huie facility the “singular best” birding areas in metro Atlanta.

“It is one of the best inland locations for shorebirds and waterbirds in the state,” the Atlanta Audubon Society wrote on its website. “There are five ponds inside the facility, and birders can drive the dikes for good views at each pond.”

There are 263 types of birds that have been spotted at the wetlands center and the water authority keeps a list of the various species on its website, www.ccwa.us. They range from songbirds, to raptors, to shorebirds and waterfowl.

The authority’s list of birds spotted in the wetlands includes the great egret, green heron, Virginia rail, osprey, yellow-billed cuckoo, hooded warbler and the orchard oriole. Prothonotary and Kentucky warblers and Louisiana waterthrush are other species which can be seen in the wetlands, according to the Atlanta Audubon Society’s website.

Early in the month, participants will likely see migratory birds that nest in the wetlands over the summer, but they will begin to see migrating songbirds in late August.

There is no fee to participate in the walks. However, it is recommended that birders bring binoculars so they can see all the birds.