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Field trip descriptions.
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April 28-30, 2006

By Gail Lankford

"Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning." Those of you who join us in Asheville April 28–30 for our spring meeting will find this an appropriate tune to hum while enjoying the sights and sounds of bird migration around these southern mountains. If you travel on Thursday, April 27, you can also join field trips along the way. Or just come a day early to enjoy Asheville's vibrant downtown, the area’s outstanding arts and crafts, or Biltmore Estate. A most important reason to come to the meeting is to enjoy seeing your birding friends who live across our region, and to make new ones!

We have three special events planned for you. On Friday night we will have a dessert social from 7–8 PM. Joining us will be Wild for Life, a local bird rehab/education organization. They will have a variety of live hawks and owls for you to see "up close and personal". At the same time, a UNC Press representative will be present with "hot off the press" copies of the new edition of Birds of the Carolinas by Eloise Potter, James Parnell, Robert Teulings, and Ricky Davis. We hope to have some of these authors present for a book signing as well. The Friday night program will begin at 8 PM.

The third special event is a buffet dinner to be held on Saturday night from 6:30–8:00 before the 8 PM program. Dinner together is a great way to get to know new folks and visit with friends. The cost is $16.95 inclusive, and you must sign up and pay with your registration no later than April 21. The meal includes a salad bar, three vegetables, desserts, rolls, and beverage. One of the two entrees will be pan fried rainbow trout. Drinks from the hotel bar adjoining the meeting room can be brought into the room both nights.

Our Friday night speaker is Christine Kelly, Mountain Nongame Wildlife Biologist for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. She is in charge of the Peregrine Falcon research, and will present information on how the birds have fared over the past couple of years. She will also include some 2006 data, as late April is mid season for Peregrine nesting. On Saturday night our speaker will be Paul Super, Science Coordinator at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center on Purchase Knob, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His subject will be "Protecting the Birds of the Smokies: Avian Research and Management." There will also be a brief business meeting one evening for election of officers.

Field trips will begin on Thursday afternoon, with one trip for those traveling I-40 West, and one for those on I-26 West. There will be all-day and half-day trips Friday and Saturday, as usual. Please refer to the descriptions and lists in this newsletter. Directions for field trips will be in your registration packet upon arrival. Registration begins Thursday night from 7–9 PM in the meeting room, and continues all day Friday.

Our meeting will be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 435 Smoky Park Hwy. This is one block south (turn right at end of exit ramp onto Hwy. 19/23 west) off Interstate 40 at exit #44. The guest rooms are newly remodeled and include refrigerator, coffee maker, iron and board, data ports, two phones, and hair dryers. All but 30 rooms in the hotel are non-smoking. The rate is $69 plus 11% tax for one to four people. This rate is available until March 27. Cancellations must be made 72 hours in advance. For reservations call 828-665-2161, or 1-800-678-2161.

Friday through Sunday a full breakfast buffet (not included in the rate) will be available starting at 6 AM in the restaurant. The hotel has an atrium lobby with an indoor heated swimming pool. If you do not want a room with balcony overlooking the lobby (which supposedly has acoustical deadening), please remember to mention this when you make your reservation.

Call Gail Lankford for further information or email her. Simon Thompson, Elisha Mitchell Audubon, and Carolina Field Birders are our trip planners and leaders, along with other CBC members.