Blowing Rock Field Trip Descriptions

Friday, April 29
Half-day morning
Trip #1Wagner Property-7:00 am
Trip #2EB Jeffress Park-7:20 am
Trip #3Bass and Trout Lakes-7:30 am
Trip #4Sim's Pond Overlook-7:40 am
Trip #5Valle Crucis Park-7:10 am
Half-day afternoon
Trip #6Bass and Trout Lake-12:50 pm
Trip #7Linville Falls-12:30 pm
Trip #8Julian Price Park-1:10 pm
Trip #9Rich Mountain Gap-12:40 pm
Trip #10Boone Greenway-1:00 pm
Trip #11Conference Center Grounds-1:15 pm
Saturday, April 30
Half-day morning
Trip #12Wagner Property-7:00 am
Trip #13EB Jeffress Park-7:20 am
Trip #14Bass and Trout Lakes-7:30a m
Trip #15Grandfather Mountain (fee)-7:40 am
Trip #16Boone Greenway-7:50 am
Trip #17Valle Crucis Park-7:10 am
Half-day afternoon
Trip #18Bass and Trout Lake-12:50 pm
Trip #19Linville Falls-12:30 pm
Trip #20Julian Price Park-1:10 pm
Trip #21Sim's Pond Overlook-1:10 pm
Trip #22Rich Mountain Gap-12:40 pm
Trip #23EB Jeffress Park-1:00 pm
Trip #24Valle Crucis Park-12:50 pm
Trip #25Grandfather Mountain (fee)-1:00 pm
Trip #26Flycatcher Loop-7:00 am
Trip #27Rich Mountain Loop-7:20 am
Trips 1, 12 (Fri 7:00am, Sat 7:00am)
Wagner Property. This private property is located just a half-hour south of Blowing Rock in Happy Valley, NC. We have permission from the owners to bird the special habitat. It is a large marsh with at least ten Green Heron nests and the potential for American Bittern, which has been spotted here several times in spring. There will also be loads of orioles, tanagers, vireos, and warblers. This will be a good spot for Yellow-breasted Chat and other old-field species.
Trips 2, 13, 23 (Fri 7:20am, Sat 7:20am, 1:00pm)
EB Jeffress Park. We'll walk the Cascades Nature Trail at Jeffress Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway where we'll have a nice view of the waterfall that plunges into the Yadkin River. Birds here should include a good assortment of warblers, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, and Blue-headed Vireo. At the nearby Lewis Fork and Stoney Fork Valley Overlooks, we could see Cerulean Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, and American Redstart.
Trips 3, 6, 14, 18 (Fri 7:30am, 12:50pm, Sat 7:30am, 12:50pm)
Bass and Trout Lakes. These two small lakes, located in Moses Cone Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway, offer some of the best birding along the Parkway. As we casually stroll along the carriage paths, we will be rewarded with birds such as Canada, Black-and-white, Hooded, Black-throated Blue, and Black-throated Green Warblers. This is also one of the few places left in NC where Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are known to nest. We should see some lingering waterfowl on the lakes and perhaps a singing Brown Creeper as well.
Trips 4, 21 (Fri 7:40am, Sat 1:10pm)
Sim's Pond Overlook. We'll walk the loop trail at Sim's Pond for warblers and vireos. There should be several Winter Wrens in song along this easy trail. Swainson's Warbler is possible as there are very dense rhododendron thickets here, and Eastern Screech Owls nest in some of the old growth Hemlocks. We may also get a glimpse of a beaver near their lodge by the pond.
Trips 5, 17, 24 (Fri 7:10am, Sat 7:10am, 12:50pm)
Valle Crucis Park. We'll watch along the short entrance drive for Bobolinks, Vesper and Savannah Sparrows, and nesting Tree Swallows. Then we'll walk the paved trails around the pond/swamp area and look for orioles, kingbirds, warblers, vireos . . . and oh, we saw a KING RAIL in the cattails last time the CBC was here!
Trips 7, 19 (Fri 12:30pm, Sat 12:30pm)
Linville Falls. This spot has long been known for nesters such as Peregrine Falcon and Red Crossbill. Along with beautiful views of the falls, we should see lots of migrants, including Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Kentucky Warbler, and Acadian Flycatcher. Wildflowers will be abundant here as well, so bring your field guide!
Trips 8, 20 (Fri 1:10pm, Sat 1:10pm)
Julian Price Park. Tree Swallows have recently begun nesting here in the boxes around the picnic area so we should have some great views of them. We will walk the first part of the Boone Fork trail through the bog looking for Alder Flycatcher and various sparrow species. Then we'll walk around the lake for a variety of vireos, warblers, and other migrants. We may also see several beaver dams and some waterfowl.
Trips 9, 22 (Fri 12:40pm, Sat 12:40pm)
Rich Mountain Gap. This high elevation (3800' to 4500') pastureland, located between Rich Mountain and Snake Mountain, is a good spot for sparrows and other high-elevation breeders. We may encounter Grasshopper and Vesper Sparrows, Common Raven, Least Flycatcher, and Canada, Chestnut-sided, and Golden-winged Warblers. Most birds can be easily seen from the road, but there is a moderate to strenuous hike for those wanting to see Golden-wingeds and upper-elevation birds.
Trips 10, 16 (Fri 1:00pm, Sat 7:50am)
Boone Greenway. We'll walk the myriad of trails in the greenway to find warblers and vireos and other migrants. It's also a great place to get up close and personal with a beaver! The variety of habitats-from fields, to stream borders, to woodland paths, should provide a good variety for us.
Trip 11 (Fri 1:15pm)
Conference Center Grounds. We'll casually stroll along the woodland borders and quiet streets of the Blowing Rock Conference Center. We should have a variety of warblers and vireos. This trip would be great for those who enjoy wildflowers, a slow pace, and level ground!
Trip 15, 25 (Sat 7:40am, 1:00pm)
Grandfather Mountain (fee). We'll walk the easy trail going up the mountain before heading up to take a peek at the feeders! We'll also head to the top and take in all the mountain's splendor, while we listen for Red Crossbill and Common Raven. There should be a good variety of birds including vireos and warblers. Admission fee (~$10) applies.
Trip 26 (Sat 7:00am all day)
Flycatcher Loop. This section of NC holds a good variety of flycatcher species. Starting at Julian Price picnic area, we'll try for Alder Flycatcher. Heading north from there, we'll see Acadian and Willow Flycatchers along the New River and try for Least and Great-crested along the valleys. There will be plenty of other breeding birds and migrants too.
Trip 27 (Sat 7:20am all day)
Rich Mountain Loop. We'll begin the day at Trout Lake before heading to Valle Crucis Park. We'll end the day at Rich Mountain Gap for sparrows. (See descriptions of all three destinations under half-day trips.)

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