Hendersonville Field Trip Descriptions

Click ==> Map of meeting and field trip locations

Thursday, May 3
Trip #1South Mountains State Park (Morganton) -1:30 Trip Full
Trip #2Pacolet Valley (Landrum, SC) - 1:00 Trip Full
Trip #3Charles D Owen Park/ Swannanoa River (Swannanoa) - 1:30 Trip Full
Trip #4Jackson Park (Hendersonville) - 4:00 to 6:30 Trip Full
Friday, May 4 Saturday, May 5
Half-day Morning Half-day Morning
Trip #5Pacolet Valley - 7:00
Trip #6Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure - 7:00
Trip #7Warrior Mountain - 7:10 Trip Full
Trip #8Mother Earth Property - 7:10
Trip #9Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 7:15
Trip #10Connemara Historical Site - 7:30
Trip #11Jackson Park- 7:30
Trip #24Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River -7:00 Trip Full
Trip #25Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure - 7:00 Trip Full
Trip #26Warrior Mountain - 7:10 Trip Full
Trip #27Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 7:15
Trip #28Big Hungry River - 7:15
Trip #29Connemara Historical Site - 7:30
Trip #30Jackson Park - 7:30
Half-day Afternoon Half-day Afternoon
Trip #12Pacolet Valley - 1:00 Trip Cancelled
Trip #13Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River -1:00 Trip Full
Trip #14Mother Earth Property - 1:10
Trip #15Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 1:15
Trip #16Bat Cave - 1:20 Trip Cancelled
Trip #17Mount Pisgah - 1:10 Trip Full
Trip #18Jackson Park - 1:30
Trip #31Pacolet Valley - 1:00
Trip #32Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River -1:00 Trip Full
Trip #33Mount Pisgah - 1:10 Trip Full
Trip #34Fletcher Park/Lake Julian - 1:15
Trip #35F.E.N.C.E. - 1:15
Trip #36Pearson's Falls - 1:20 Trip Full
Trip #37Jackson Park - 1:30
All-day All-day
Trip #19Blue Ridge Parkway North - 6:45
Trip #20Blue Ridge Parkway South - 7:00
Trip #21Cleveland County Open Country - 7:00
Trip #22Henderson County Hotspots - 7:15
Trip #23Blue Wall Preserve - 7:15 Trip Full
Trip #38Blue Ridge Parkway North - 6:45
Trip #39Blue Ridge Parkway South - 7:00 Trip Full
Trip #40Mountain Bridge Wilderness Preserve -7:00
This trip is Full
Trip #41Pink Beds/Hwy 276-7:15
Sunday, May 6
Jackson Park - 8:00
Baker's Mountain County Park (Hickory) - 10:00
Ventures, Inc. day trip to Stecoah Gap

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 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; www.birdventures.com)

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: yes.

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 miles.

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 miles.
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.
This trip's 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.
Barn 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.
Expect 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 miles.
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.
Located 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.


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