Hendersonville Field Trip Descriptions
Thursday, May 3|
|Trip #1||South Mountains State Park (Morganton) -1:30
|Trip #2||Pacolet Valley (Landrum, SC) - 1:00
|Trip #3||Charles D Owen Park/ Swannanoa River (Swannanoa) - 1:30
|Trip #4||Jackson Park (Hendersonville) - 4:00 to 6:30
|Friday, May 4
||Saturday, May 5
|Trip #5||Pacolet Valley - 7:00|
|Trip #6||Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure - 7:00|
|Trip #7||Warrior Mountain - 7:10
|Trip #8||Mother Earth Property - 7:10|
|Trip #9||Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 7:15|
|Trip #10||Connemara Historical Site - 7:30|
|Trip #11||Jackson Park- 7:30||
|Trip #24||Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River -7:00
|Trip #25||Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure - 7:00
|Trip #26||Warrior Mountain - 7:10
|Trip #27||Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 7:15|
|Trip #28||Big Hungry River - 7:15|
|Trip #29||Connemara Historical Site - 7:30|
|Trip #30||Jackson Park - 7:30|
|Trip #12||Pacolet Valley - 1:00
|Trip #13||Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River -1:00
|Trip #14||Mother Earth Property - 1:10|
|Trip #15||Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 1:15|
|Trip #16||Bat Cave - 1:20
|Trip #17||Mount Pisgah - 1:10
|Trip #18||Jackson Park - 1:30||
|Trip #19||Blue Ridge Parkway North - 6:45|
|Trip #20||Blue Ridge Parkway South - 7:00|
|Trip #21||Cleveland County Open Country - 7:00|
|Trip #22||Henderson County Hotspots - 7:15|
|Trip #23||Blue Wall Preserve - 7:15
|Trip #38||Blue Ridge Parkway North - 6:45|
|Trip #39||Blue Ridge Parkway South - 7:00
|Trip #40||Mountain Bridge Wilderness Preserve -7:00|
This trip is Full
|Trip #41||Pink Beds/Hwy 276-7:15|
Trips will be limited to a maximum of 18 participants and minimum of 5.
If a trip is cancelled, Dana Harris will attempt to email/call you so
you can choose another trip .Cancelled trips and full trips will be
noted on the CBC website, so check before leaving for Hendersonville.
Please consider bringing adequate drinks and snacks on all morning trips
in case there is not time for lunch before your afternoon trip;
definitely bring your lunch and snacks on all day trips.
All trips except Thursday's depart from the Quality Inn. Meet your
leader in the lobby.
You do not have to sign up for Sunday trips. Leaders will meet you at
Jackson Park and Baker's Mountain (about 1 ½ hours from hotel). Those
wanting to go to Stecoah Gap in Graham County must sign up and pay in
advance with Ventures (828-253-4247;
Spring Meeting Field Trip Descriptions
- Trip 1 South Mountains State Park.
This trip is Full. Located in
southern Burke County, this is one of our largest and
most beautiful parks. It has a blend of mountain and
lowland ecologies, resulting in over 100 rare species
of plants and 66 species of nesting birds, including
Ruffed Grouse, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern
Raven, and Swainson's and Worm-eating Warblers.
This park is a designated Important Bird Area. It also
has abundant wildflowers, a waterfall, a newly paved
entrance road, and a new visitor's center. A park
ranger will be your guide. Walking: limited. Restrooms:
Directions: I-40 west, exit #105 on Hwy. 18 and
drive south toward Shelby 10 miles. Turn right onto
SR 1913/ Sugar Loaf Rd for 6 miles. Turn left on SR
1924/Old NC 18 for 3 miles, then right on SR 1901/
Ward's Gap Rd for 1.5 miles. Turn right onto SR
1904/ So. Mtn. State Park Ave. and follow 3.5 miles
to the main visitor parking area.
- Trip 2, 5, 12, 31 Pacolet Valley.
Trip 2 is Full. Trip 12 is Cancelled. The Pacolet River
runs through woodland and agricultural fields in this
picturesque valley near Landrum, SC. You should see
sparrows, raptors, transient shorebirds (if recent
rains), and Loggerhead Shrikes. It is one of the few
sites in SC with breeding Willow Flycatchers. Trip
will include the private Caroland Farms, and walking
in fields and along the river. Walking: easy. Restrooms:
service station. Round trip: approximately 54
Directions for Thursday: From I-26 take exit #1. Go
south (left) on Hwy 14 and meet leader at the first
service station on the left.
- Trip 3, 13, 24, 32 Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River.
All 4 trips are Full. The Swannanoa River flows
through this county park well-known to locals as a
great birding spot. Both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles
and Yellow-throated Vireo nest along the river.
After an easy walk around a tree lined lake, you follow
the river along the fields of Warren Wilson College.
Migrant Blue-winged warblers have been seen
in the past, along with typical farmland birds such as
Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Bobwhite, and
Grasshopper Sparrow. Walking: easy. Restrooms:
yes. Round trip: approx. 60 miles.
Directions for Thursday: I-40 west to exit #55. At
end of exit ramp take a right. At Hwy 70, take a right.
In about 2 miles take a left at light with Shell station
on corner onto Warren Wilson Rd. After you pass
Warren Wilson College on your right, look for the
Charles Owen plant on the right with a small sign for
the park in their parking lot. Turn in the plant parking
lot and drive to the left of the building. Once behind
the building you will see the park and lake. Parking is
on right side of lake.
- Trip 4, 11, 18, 30, 37 Jackson Park.
Trip 4 is Full. With a wide
range of habitats, Jackson Park is one of the finest
passerine migration flyways in North Carolina. This
is a good place to see an outstanding selection of
spring migrants. Birds found here include warblers
such as Golden-winged and Blue-winged, thrushes,
vireos, and flycatchers. This city park has easy walking
on the Nature Trail, Bottomland Trail, and the
famous Warbler Trail. Walking: easy. Restrooms:
yes. Roundtrip: approx. 6 miles.
Directions for Thursday: Exit# 49-B off I-26 onto
Hwy 64 West (Four Seasons Blvd.) to Hendersonville.
In about 2 miles you will pass Four Seasons
Marsh on the left, and turn left at the next light onto
Harris St. (look for the brown Jackson Park sign at
the light). Go straight through the 4-way stop, and
when Harris St. dead ends at 4th St., turn left and proceed
across the bridge and up the hill to the Administration
building parking lot on the left.
- Trip 6, 25 Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure.
Trip 25 is Full. Chimney
Rock Park, soon to be NC's newest state park
(admission $14 per person), has several trails through
mixed hardwood forest and rhododendron thickets. It
is a great place for Worm-eating, Swainson's, and Cerulean
Warblers, and many other species, including
Peregrine Falcon. The Hickory Nut Falls Trail is
moderate but easy to walk and is the best for birding.
Most of the upper trails are steeper, but there is an
elevator to the top. Walking: level/steep stairs. Restrooms:
yes. Round trip: approx. 34 miles
- Trip 7, 26 Warrior Mountain.
Both trips are Full. The Norman Wilder
Forest consists of 185 protected acres of mature third
-growth, mixed-hardwood forest located on the steep
slopes of Little Warrior Mountain. Trails provide hikers
with a leafy canopy of shade trees and stunning
views of sheer rock walls. Bridges
and steps on trails make this a most enjoyable, moderate
hike. The trip will start at another site, with very
good birding walking a mile round trip along an unpaved
road. Ceruleans and Kentucky Warblers nest
along the road, and you see many birds at almost eye
level. Wildflowers are also abundant. Walking: easy/
moderate. Restrooms: no. Round trip: approx. 40 miles.
- Trip 8, 14 Mother Earth Property.
This beautiful 600+ acres has open fields, several abandoned buildings
and barns, walking trails and dirt roads, a 20 acre lake, beaver ponds,
marshy areas, streams, rhododendron thickets, and hardwood forests.
Walking: mostly level/easy. Restrooms: no. Round trip: approx. 30
- Trip 9, 15, 27, 34 Fletcher Park/Lake Julian.
Fletcher Park is a wonderful small city park that lies
in the French Broad River Valley. Several good birds
have been reported here, including Philadelphia
Vireo, Bay-breasted Warbler and Baltimore Oriole. A
small wetland has breeding Willow Flycatchers and
several freshwater species may also be seen here.
Lake Julian, a Progress Energy Reservoir, is heated
throughout the year which helps bring migrating water
birds. Even in early May there could be some
loons, ducks, geese, cormorants, terns, and gulls still
around. Walking: easy. Restrooms: yes. Round trip:
approx. 28 miles.
- Trip 10, 29 Connemara.
The beautiful grounds of
this national historic site, the former home of poet
Carl Sandburg, include a lake, farm fields, barns, and
forest. Local clubs often bird here, and the ranger
leads bird walks each spring. Walking: level/hills.
Restrooms: yes. Round trip: 24 miles.
- Trip 16 Bat Cave.
This trip is Cancelled due to storm damage at the site. After hiking a mile up a steep trail
through a mature hardwood forest, you will be rewarded
with Bat Cave's natural air conditioning: a
cool moist draft that constantly pours out of vents on
the side of the cave. Bat Cave is the largest known
granite fissure cave in North America. The main
chamber is a dark cathedral more than 300 feet long
and approximately 85 feet high. The cave is wintering
habitat for 3 rare species of bats, and several species
of salamanders are found. Hickory Nut Gorge is
cloaked in rich cove hardwood forest that harbor nine
threatened or endangered plants, such as broadleaf
coreopsis and Carey's saxifrage. The preserve has an
abundance of spring wildflowers. Migratory birds,
including Swainson's Warbler, are here, but the emphasis
is wildflowers. Nature Conservancy Fee: $10.
Walking: moderate to strenuous. Restrooms: no.
Round trip: approx. 26 miles.
- Trip 17, 33 Mount Pisgah.
Trips 17 and 33 are Full. This trip will concentrate
on the Parkway area between Mills River Valley
Overlook and the Pisgah Inn, including short walks
on segments of the Mountains to Sea Trail. Warblers
love the gap at this overlook. Walking: easy. Restrooms:
yes. Round trip: approx. 62 miles.
- Trip 19, 38 Blue Ridge Parkway North.
emphasis is teaching bird song recognition. The Blue
Ridge Parkway from Craven Gap, just north of the
Folk Art Center, to Bull Gap is one of the most reliable
areas for the much sought-after Cerulean Warbler.
We will stop at overlooks along the way for
other warblers, such as Hooded, Blackburnian, Kentucky,
and Ovenbird, and other nesting/migrant species
including Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Blueheaded
Vireo. The road up to Craggy Gardens picnic
grounds has a wonderful array of wildflowers and
warblers. If there is time, we will travel to Mt.
Mitchell in search of Red Crossbill, Winter Wren,
Pine Siskin, Hermit Thrush and other high elevation
birds. Restrooms: yes. Walking: limited/easy. Restrooms:
yes. Round trip: approx. 90 miles (120 miles
including Mt. Mitchell).
- Trip 20, 39 Blue Ridge Parkway South.
Trip 39 is Full. This trip
will stop at overlooks for migrants, such as Canada,
Black-throated Blue, and Chestnut-sided Warblers, as
well as Scarlet Tanager. The area around the Pisgah
Inn is good for finding Cedar Waxwing, Rosebreasted
Grosbeak, and perhaps a soaring Raven.
From there we will go south to Devil's Courthouse
where Sawwhet Owls call at night. Then it's back to
Graveyard Fields for the birds and the outstanding
scenery. We will try for Ruffed Grouse near here. The
Black Balsam Forest Rd. leads to a parking area with
Golden-winged Warblers, Veerys, and Least Flycatchers.
Alder flycatchers don't arrive until late
May. Walking:limited/easy. Restrooms: yes. Round
trip: approx. 90 miles.
- Trip 21 Cleveland County Open Country.
Owls, Horned Larks, Blue Grosbeaks, Grasshopper
Sparrows, Bobwhite, Yellow-breasted Chats, E.
Meadowlarks, and Loggerhead Shrikes are the target
birds in the agricultural fields.
Walking: limited. Restrooms: service stations.
Round trip: approx 112 miles to/from starting
point; plus 25 miles in Cleveland Co.
- Trip 22 Henderson County Hotspots.
shorebirds such as Least and Solitary Sandpipers,
both Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed
Dowitcher, Semipalmated Plover, and possibly late
Upland Sandpipers at Hooper Lane. The presence of
these birds is strongly dependent on the condition of
the fields and the weather. Bobolinks and several
sparrows should be common in the nearby fields.
Along the river the trees and shrubs may have early
Willow Flycatchers and Blue Grosbeaks, plus warblers
and other passerines. Lake Osceola should have
flocks of feeding swallows, maybe Osprey, and nesting
Yellow-throated warbler. Jackson Park may also
be included in this trip. Walking: easy. Restrooms:
service stations. Round trip: approx. 56 miles
- Trip 23 Blue Wall Preserve.
This trip is Full. This Nature Conservancy
site on Hogback Mountain contains a variety of
habitats: hemlock-rhododendron, ponds, old field
(Virginia) pines, rushing streams and 100-year old
cove hardwood and oak-hickory forest. You will see
a variety of birds: Wood Duck, woodpeckers, nuthatches,
flycatchers, thrushes, abundant warblers,
Scarlet Tanagers, Indigo Buntings and maybe a Rose-breasted
Grosbeak. Ruffed Grouse is possible, as is
Raven. A segment of SC's Palmetto Trail, the trail
also offers wildflowers and blooming shrubs. Round
trip hike is about 5.5 miles. Walking: easy/moderate.
Restrooms: no. Round trip: approx. 62 miles.
- Trip 28 Big Hungry River.
Owned by the NC Wildlife
Resources Commission and a dedicated State Nature
Preserve. It is a deep tributary gorge to the Green
River gorge, with White Pine, Carolina Hemlock, and
Oak/Heath habitats. Birding will be along the roads.
Cove forest birds are to be expected. Walking: easy.
Restrooms: no. Round trip: approx. 20 miles.
- Trip 35 F.E.N.C.E.
The Foothills Equestrian Nature
Center is a nonprofit nature education and recreation
center with 390 acres of open meadows, marsh, and
woodland, plus a nature pond with an observation
boardwalk and covered picnic shelter. The pond is
great for dragonflies, and butterflies and birds are also
numerous in that area. This is primarily a dragonfly
and butterfly trip. Walking: easy. Restrooms: yes.
Round trip: approx. 52 miles.
- Trip 36 Pearson's Falls.
Trip 36 is Full. Comprised of 268 acres of
rich diverse cove forest with Carolina Hemlock,
spring fed streams and a 90 foot waterfall, it is owned
and operated by the Tryon Garden Club. Admission is
$3.00. There are over 200 species of ferns, flowering
plants, and mosses in the wildflower preserve. Although
birds will be seen, this is primarily a wildflower
trip. Walking: easy. Round trip: approx. 28
- Trip 40 Mountain Bridge Wilderness.
This trip is Full. This 11,000-acre wilderness embraces two S.C. state parks, Caesar's
Head and Jones Gap, and we will make a moderate,
downhill hike of 5.3 miles connecting the two.
Following the cascading and pristine Middle Saluda
River, SC's first Wild and Scenic River, we will pass
through an old-growth cove hardwood forest, rich
with birdlife. This is perhaps the most reliable place
in the state to hear/see Northern Ravens and Swainson's
Warblers. Ruffed Grouse and Peregrine Falcons
are possible, as well as all migrating wood warblers,
vireos and thrushes. Black-throated Blue, Black-throated
Green and Worm-eating Warblers are especially
numerous. Wildflowers should be abundant,
with particularly good displays of Mountain Laurel
and Dwarf Rhododendron. Wear comfortable, sturdy
shoes; pack lunch and water for the hike. Walking:
moderate/downhill. Round trip: approx. 80 miles.
- Trip 41 Pink Beds/ Hwy 276.
We travel up Hwy 276 through
Pisgah Nat'l. Forest stopping to bird at Davidson
River Campground and the Cradle of Forestry for
warblers, vireos, and thrushes. Black-throated Blues
and Greens will be common. This trip includes the
Pisgah Fish Hatchery and the parking area for Looking
Glass Rock, which has a Peregrine Falcon aerie.
At the Pink Beds picnic area we will walk
the trails, which pass through open meadows and forest.
Restrooms: yes. Walking: mostly level. Round
trip: approx 75 miles.
- Sunday: Baker's Mountain County Park.
on the highest point of elevation in Catawba County
(1780 feet), Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles
have been seen here. Park ranger John Sutton will be
your trip leader, and most of the birding will be around
and near the parking lot.
Directions: I-40 east, exit 121 (Old Shelby Rd.) Turn
right (south) on Old Shelby Rd and after 4.3 miles turn
left onto Bakers Mtn Rd. The park entrance is at the
end of the road.