Anderson Point Park and Neuse River Trail
Habitats: Open tall- and short-grass meadows, mixed pine/hardwood, and Crabtree Creek floodplain.
Key birds: Summer: Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanager, Yellow-throated Warbler, Northern Parula, Wood Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-billed cuckoo, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Winter: American Woodcock, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Cedar Waxwing. Year-round: White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-headed, Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, Pine Warbler, American Goldfinch, Eastern Bluebird, Belted Kingfisher, and Barred Owl.
Best times to bird: Good opportunities year-round, especially during migration periods along the park trail leading to the confluence of the Neuse River and Crabtree Creek.
Description: Anderson Point Park is owned and managed by the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. There are several habitats within the park including open grass fields, short grass and tall grass meadows, an edge of mixed pine and hardwood forest, and a forested bottomland hardwood floodplain at the confluence of the Neuse River and Crabtree Creek. This confluence of the Neuse and Crabtree form a point of land, giving the park its name. The Neuse River Trail is part of the Capital Area Greenway system and is a four-mile trail with earth surface.
Directions: Anderson Point Park is located at 10 Rogers Lane in Raleigh. From I-440 Inner Beltline, take US 64 East, Exit 13B. Go approximately 2.1 miles; turn right on Rogers Lane. Go approximately 1.2 miles to the parking lot for Anderson Point Park and the Neuse River Trail on the left. A new entrance to the park will open in the near future; at that time one will be able to cross over the new bridge into the parking area.
Birding Highlights: Over 90 bird species have been documented at Anderson Point Park and the Neuse River Trail. If traveling counter-clockwise around the park paths, you will pass a pond that has been home to Great Blue and Green Herons, and Wood Duck. Following the path beyond the playground will lead you to an area with a short grass meadow on one side of the trail and mixed pine and hardwood forest on the other. One can see Eastern Bluebird and Chipping Sparrow throughout the year in the short grass meadow. Eastern Kingbird and American Goldfinch are common throughout the summer. The forest edge is home to Summer Tanager and Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the summer, while Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Hermit Thrush are often seen in the winter. As you leave the meadow and the paved trail and walk through the pine and mixed hardwood forest on the way to the floodplain, you will find that Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Northern Flicker are all abundant. This part of the trail and the bottomland hardwood forest of the flood plain is also the best place to see Pileated Woodpecker. Belted Kingfishers are along both the Neuse River and Crabtree Creek and can often be seen from the Point. Migrating shorebirds such as the Spotted Sandpiper show up occasionally along the waterways at the Point.
As you follow the trail out of the floodplain and back into the paved trails of the park look for Northern Cardinal and Brown Thrasher which are common in the thicket edges. Following the trails counter-clockwise leads one to the tall grass meadows. The wonderful and various insects attracted by the meadow made this an ideal place to see birds such as Chipping and Song Sparrows, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, and Carolina Wren, as well as enjoying butterfly and dragonfly watching.
Eastern Meadowlark and American Woodcock were common to the area in years past and have been seen in the park since the reestablishment of the meadows. White-throated Sparrow are abundant throughout the park in the winter and, during that time, Cedar Waxwing are often seen among the shrubs that line the northern edge of the park.
The Neuse River Trail offers much of the same opportunities for birding as the trails within the park plus the likelihood of seeing Red-headed Woodpecker, Barn and Rough-winged Swallows, and Green Heron.
General Information: Birding Anderson Point Park is best in the mornings when it is not busy. There is no staff on-site at the park and no food or drink sold on site, but many stores/restaurants are within a few minutes drive in either direction. The park features picnic shelters, restrooms, open play fields, and a formal playground. There is a wheel-chair accessible paved walkway around much of the park. Wake Audubon Society has entered into an Adopt-A-Park agreement with the City of Raleigh to establish various wildlife management projects to benefit birds and other wildlife.
DeLorme map grid: page 40, C3
North Carolina Travel Map grid: H2
For more information: City of Raleigh, Department of Parks and Recreation, (919) 831-6640.