Simon RB Thompson
Habitats: A variety of wetland habitats including woodland seeps, temporary ponds, and boggy openings.
Key Birds: Summer: Golden-winged, Chestnut-sided, Kentucky Warblers.
Best times to bird: Summer and migration.
Description: Tulula Bog is the last remaining swamp-forest wetland complex in Graham County. It is a 235-acre site that was purchased by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) as a wetland mitigation bank for surface transportation projects in western North Carolina. The site is nestled between Cheoah Bald and the Snowbird Mountains near the headwaters of Tulula Creek at 2620 feet above sea level. Use of the area is limited to well-established trails because of on-going scientific studies by University of North Carolina at Asheville. The Nantahala National Forest surrounds Tulula Wetlands. Mountain fens, temporary ponds, and floodplain forests provide critical habitats for many native plants and animals found in the southern Appalachians.
Directions: This site lies in extreme western North Carolina, about two hours west of Asheville and can be reached from the east from I 40 and US 74 to NC 143 and US 129. Tulula Bog lies about 10 miles southeast of Robbinsville, just off US 129. Driving from Robbinsville, pass through the community of Tulula and by the Bear Creek development. After about 8.5 miles, watch for the blue Wetland Research signs on the trees. At 9.6 miles, make a sharp left on Ledbetter Road. In making this turn be alert for on-coming traffic. Continue for just less than half a mile and then turn left into a small, gated road. Avoid blocking the access road by parking on the left, outside the gate.
Birding Highlights: Indigo Bunting and Song Sparrow are the most abundant of the 100 or more species of birds found at this site. Golden-winged and Kentucky Warblers are common in the summer. A walk down the main road should provide easy views of them. Also, check for Yellow-throated Warbler, Ovenbird and Yellow-breasted Chat and other warblers as you walk the road. Wood Duck, Red-winged Blackbird and Green Heron are often seen in the site's temporary pools. Red-shouldered and Broad-winged Hawks are fairly common. Rarities seen in the past include Mourning Warbler, Sedge Wren, and Virginia Rail.
General Information: No facilities are available at the site. Lodging is available in Robbinsville or at lodges in the area.
DeLorme map grid: page 50, A4
North Carolina Travel Map grid: B3
For more information: University of North Carolina at Asheville: http://www.unca.edu/tulula