Hickory Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions
Click ==> Map of meeting and field trip locations
|Friday, September 25||Saturday, September 26|
|Half-day Morning||Half-day Morning|
|Half-day Afternoon||Half-day Afternoon|
Fall Meeting Field Trip Descriptions
- Trips 1, 14, and 26 Trip 1 is full: Riverbend Park
- Riverbend Park is a 450-acre passive park operated by Catawba County. With its mile of shoreline along the Catawba River, it is a wonderful place to see fall migrants. There have been 190 species seen at Riverbend Park so far! We will expect to find lots of warblers, vireos and flycatchers. Olive-sided Flycatchers have been spotted during fall in past years near the park office, and a pair of Bald Eagles nest nearby and fly over often. It will be a relatively easy hike along the River Trail and depending on time, we may return to the parking lot through a stand of mature American Beech to look for more migrants.
- Trips 2, 15 Trips 2 and 15 are full: Bakers Mountain Park
- Standing high above the Catawba Valley at 1,780 feet, Bakers Mountain Park offers some of the best bird watching in the Piedmont. The mountain is a beacon for migrating songbirds because of its height above the surrounding landscape and the amount of forest cover it has. The best part is—you do not even have to leave the parking area to see such beautiful and breathtaking birds like the Black-throated Blue Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Hooded Warbler and many others! The park is a 189-acre property on the north side of Bakers Mountain, and is operated by Catawba County. From the observation platform located near the top of the mountain, we will look for migrating raptors. Golden Eagles have been seen several times during the fall, along with hundreds of Broad-winged Hawks!
- Trips 3, 24, 25 Trip 24 is full : Hickory City Parks
- Glenn R. Hilton Park is a 59.5-acre park operated by the City of Hickory and can be one of the best birding spots in the area. Twenty-two warbler species have been seen in a single day in late September, after the passing of a cold front. We will hope for something like a Connecticut, Cerulean, Golden-winged, Blue-winged, Nashville, or Wilson's Warbler. The boardwalk trail is often a great spot for viewing migrating songbirds, wading birds, and raptors. At the furthest point on the loop is an observation platform adjacent to a cove of Lake Hickory. We will also bird along an adjacent bikeway between Hickory City and Geitner Parks. This will be an easy walk and most of it is ADA accessible.
- Trips 4, 8, 13, 18: Wagner Property
- This is, easily, one of the best birding spots in our area. Located in Happy Valley, NC, it is private property and will be generously opened up to us again for the CBC meeting. The property is an old pea gravel mining operation and has wetlands galore in several stages of growth. This is also a great spot to find shorebirds! Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and others are regular visitors. White-crowned Sparrow, Swainson's Warbler, American Bittern, and American Woodcock have all been seen in recent falls. This will be a relatively easy walk, although parts of it may be through tall grass.
- Trips 5, 16 (Trip 5 is cancelled ): Lenoir Greenway
- The Lenoir Greenway includes seven paved miles of trails, spreading over 25 acres of land. The greenway passes through a variety of habitats, ranging from streamside bottomlands to open fields to early successional growth. We will look for migrating songbirds along the streamside section and should see a good variety of warblers, vireos, and tanagers! We will also stop at Parkway Bank in Lenoir, NC to visit the Foothills Bird Club's official hawk watch location. Last year, in one day, over 10,000 Broad-winged Hawks were counted as they passed over this location! This will be an easy walk and is ADA accessible.
- Trips 6, 20: Vale/Plateau Area
- This area is still very rural and filled with farms and hayfields. We will look for grassland species like Grasshopper Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, and Bobolink before visiting several properties to look for woodland migrants. Mardell's Nature Preserve has a mile-long walking trail that winds through a 25-acre tract and has a reputation for producing sightings of the elusive American Woodcock! At the other property, we will look for warblers, vireos, and thrushes. This should be relatively easy walking and some birding will be done from the car.
- Trips 7, 12 Trip 7 is full: Catawba River Greenway
- The Catawba River and Freedom Trail Greenways are paved trails that follow more than four linear miles of the Catawba River in Morganton and encompass more than 250 acres of land. This is a beautiful area near the headwaters of the river, and we should see lots of warblers and vireos. Blue-headed, Red-eyed, Yellowthroated, Philadelphia, and White-eyed Vireos have all been seen here in the fall. Waterfowl are also a possibility here. This is an easy walk and is ADA accessible.
- Trips 9, 19 (Trip 9 is cancelled ): Lakeside Park
- Lakeside Park is a relatively new 73-acre park at the edge of scenic Lake Rhodhiss that is operated by the town of Granite Falls. The one-mile nature trail provides the best birding opportunities at the park. During fall migration, we will scan the trees and shoreline for migrating songbirds such as Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Eastern Kingbird. There are several viewing platforms overlooking the lake that make great vantage points for viewing over the water where we'll look for Osprey and Bald Eagle.
- Trips 10, 21 Trips 10 and 21 are full: Ridge Junction Overlook
- Birding from a chair. No kidding!!! While the predawn drive to this scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway may not be everyone's cup of tea, the continuous stream of birds and a sunrise that takes your breath away is well worth it! We will leave the hotel at 5 a.m. in order to be in place when the sun rises and the drama begins. (At this early hour, we do have a chance at seeing a Black Bear while driving up the Parkway too!) Situated at a unique spot in the Black Mountains, Ridge Junction Overlook is the “low” point in the “J” shaped chain and acts as a funnel for southbound migrants. On good days, there could be several hundred migrants seen in small groups making their way through the tree line, all visible from your chair. On great days—well, let's just say it will knock your socks off! We will have lunch at the restaurant at Mt. Mitchell State Park and look for Red Crossbills while we are there. We will then return via Curtis Creek Road to look for more migrants.
- Trip 11: Yadkin River Greenway and W. Kerr Scott Reservoir
- We will begin our day at the Yadkin River Greenway with its paved trail system and nice mix of riparian zones and other habitats. Fall can be a very good time to visit, with a wide variety of migrating songbirds and shorebirds. Recently, Upland Sandpiper and Buff-breasted Sandpiper have been observed in the recreational fields by the YMCA access, along with scores of Killdeer and Canada Geese. We will also visit the picturesque W. Kerr Scott Reservoir to search for vireos and warblers along some of the lesserdriven back roads near the lake. We will also visit Mountain View Overlook to look for migrating raptors and then, if time permits, stop by the Wilkes Community College Gardens and adjoining pond on our way back.
- Trip 17This trip is full: South Mountains State Park
- With 18,000 acres and elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,000 feet, South Mountains State Park is among one of the most diverse ecosystems in the state. Lots of warblers, tanagers and vireos make their way south through this area and can be seen along the beautiful trail to High Shoals Falls. Pine Siskin, Worm-eating Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler are among the species we will be looking for. The spectacular 80-foot waterfall makes the trip worthwhile-even if you do not see a single bird! This is a moderately strenuous hike with many sets of stairs to the top.
- Trip 22 (Trip 22 is cancelled ): Catawba County Hotspots
- We will search all the best spots in Catawba County to find the best birds our area has to offer! We will be visiting such places as the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, Murray's Mill, and area lake accesses. We will specifically be looking for Loggerhead Shrike, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Black Tern, and much, much more. This will be mostly birding from the car, so carpooling is highly encouraged. Last time we had this trip, we turned up a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher! Who knows what this year will hold?
- Trip 23: Boone and the High Country
- This trip will focus on some of the less “touristy” parts of the High Country. We will drive through the high-elevation grasslands on Rich Mountain to look for Vesper and Savannah Sparrows before turning our attention to Valle Crucis Park. This small park provides great birding opportunities along the Watauga River and the small wetlands near the pond. Orchard and Baltimore Orioles and Black-billed Cuckoos will be on our watch list. Several other spots will be explored before returning to Hickory.