Winston-Salem Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions
Click ==> Map of meeting and field trip locations
|Friday, April 30||Saturday, May 1|
|Half-day Morning||Half-day Morning|
|Half-day Afternoon||Half-day Afternoon|
Essential Planning Notes for the Winston-Salem Meeting!
- All field trips except the winery tour have a limit of 15 participants. Status of the field trips will be posted on this web page. However, the status could change by the time your registration is processed, so be sure to indicate your second choices and check the list when you arrive at the hotel to see which trips you are on. If your first and second choice trips are full, you will be contacted to make another selection.
- Plan to bring water, snacks and lunch for the all day trips since there will probably not be food available along the route. There are several fast food restaurants and a Subway near the hotel so you can purchase takeout for lunch the night before.
- Water and snacks are a good idea for the half-day field trips. The schedule is tight so you may want to have a cooler with lunch in your room as an alternative to the fast food available nearby. Some rooms have refrigerators, and there are some portable refrigerators available on a first come first serve basis for the other rooms.
- All trips will leave from the hotel at the times indicated on the schedule. If you prefer to meet the group at the site, be sure to inform the leader and make a notation on the field trip attendee list so the leader will not be looking for you at the hotel.
- Sunday, April 25 is the last date you can cancel and receive a refund of your registration fee and banquet charge. If you have to cancel after the refund cutoff date, please notify the Headquarters Secretary so we can give your field trip space to someone on the waiting list.
Spring Meeting Field Trip Descriptions
- Trips 1, 7, 17, 23 (Trips 7, 17, and 23 are full): Tanglewood Park & Arboretum (half-day)
- (NC Birding Trail: NW Piedmont Group – Site 5) This beautiful 1200-acre park along the Yadkin River is just minutes from our hotel. Because of the park’s size and diversity of habitat, we will be “car birding” as well as hiking on trails and service roads. This will enable us to cover the gamut, including pastures, oak forest, mixed hardwoods/pine forest, early successional habitat, mesic forest areas and the wetlands viewing platform. We’ll “power bird” as we drive by the golf course, the cemetery, the horse track, stables and picnic areas. The diversity of habitat means we should see a wide variety of birds. Watch for Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, Wood Ducks, Cliff Swallows, and nesting Baltimore Orioles. Expect Indigo Buntings, Green Heron, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak and several species of warblers including nesting Prothonotaries. Whether you’re a master gardener or just love plants in general, you’ll appreciate the arboretum and the state record white oak and black walnut trees near the manor house. The trails are well maintained and fairly easy walking. There is a $2 per car entrance fee. Restrooms are available.
- Trips 2, 8, 18, 24 (Trips 2, 8, and 18 are full): Reynolda Gardens (half-day with all day option)
- (NCBT: NW Piedmont Group – Site 3) The grounds and trails around the former R. J. Reynolds estate are in the heart of Winston-Salem adjacent to and owned by Wake Forest University. This is known by the locals to be the best birding destination in town. Every warbler, thrush and vireo on the county list has been observed here. You know you’re in a good place when one of the trails is called “Warbler Lane”. Prepare for this field trip by doing your neck exercises, or be prepared for severe “warbler neck”. The sun reaches the abundant tall trees early, and five species in one tree can be expected during migration. Thrushes and tanagers abound along the creek. We should see Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Black-billed Cuckoos are a possibility. If you’re not a hard-core birder or just want to give your neck some time off, this field trip will provide some alternatives for an enjoyable outing. The grounds include formal gardens, a plant shop and the Reynolda House Museum of Art. The adjacent Reynolda Village has several shops and restaurants. If you want to see the birds, enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants and check out the gardens, plant shop and museum, sign up for a morning trip and stay all day. Just let the leader know and drive separately or carpool with someone whose schedule coincides with yours. There is a $10 fee for the Reynolda House Museum of Art and for house tours. Restrooms are available.
- Trips 3, 9, 19, 25 ( Trips 9, 19, and 25 are full): Historic Bethabara Park (half-day)
- (NCBT: NW Piedmont Group – Site 4) This unique setting for a field trip is a National Historic Landmark. Nearly 250 years ago a small group of Moravians settled here, and what a beautiful spot they chose. We can stroll through the original village with its palisade fence and numerous archeological excavations, but our primary focus will be the 20-mile system of nature trails that traverse a wildlife preserve that includes a wetlands area with a boardwalk. Spring brings vireos, Blue Grosbeaks, a variety of warblers and both Summer and Scarlet Tanagers. Nesting species include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Brown Thrashers and Wood Thrush. Imagine the Wood Thrush song echoing through the woods as you focus your binoculars on an Ovenbird or Northern Parula, or try to figure out which Empidonax you’re looking at. If you keep a “critter list”, you might log an otter, mink, woodchuck or fox. For those with more balanced interests (i.e. not obsessed with birds) the Visitor Center offers a video about the settlement history, and the museum features a restored and furnished 1788 church, archaeological ruins, exhibits and tours with costumed guides, a reconstructed village, a French and Indian War fort and colonial and medical gardens. The Visitor Center opens at 10:30 a.m. on Friday and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, so sign up for the afternoon trip if this is your primary interest. Restrooms are not available Saturday morning when the Visitor Center is closed.
- Trips 4, 26 (Trip 26 is full): Washington Park & Salem Creek Greenway (half-day)
- Washington Park is the largest neighborhood park in Winston-Salem and encompasses athletic fields, a dog park, a section of Salem Creek Greenway and trails through vast natural areas. Our friends from Audubon Society of Forsyth County have shown us where to find the birds in this maze. If you know where to go (and we do) this park provides an excellent place to inventory the migration. Driving or walking around the “upper park” is a good spot for Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Blue-winged and Hooded Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, Blue-headed Vireos, all five thrushes – just about anything can show up here. The trail along the creek can be good for Yellow Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chat and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and maybe Acadian and Willow Flycatchers. Be prepared to walk on sidewalks and trails that are somewhat hilly, but not too strenuous. There is a Port-A-John at Washington Park.
- Trips 5, 27 (Trip 27 is full): Miller Park & Archie Elledge Treatment Plant (half-day)
- (NCBT: NW Piedmont Group – Site 2) We will combine two venues for a nice variety of birds. Miller Park is right in town and popular with birders and non-birders alike. The activity at the playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts, picnic shelters and community center doesn’t seem to bother the birds in the adjacent woods. The compact network of paved trails provides close views of birds in a mix of hardwoods and pine in bottomland, slope and upland habitat. Thrushes hop across the paths, and flycatchers, vireos, warblers, tanagers and orioles flit about the trees. There is a good chance of seeing nesting Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Barred Owls, Cooper’s and Red-shouldered Hawks. Miller Park is so birdy that The Audubon Society of Forsyth County chose it to sponsor in the Adopt-a-Park program. A short drive will take us to a very different habitat at Archie Elledge Sewage Treatment Plant. The Tufted Duck is long gone, but the fields and brush attract Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and Song and Field Sparrows. We hope to see the Common Ravens that nest nearby. No promises, but Lincoln’s Sparrow and Brewer’s Blackbird are a possibility. Restrooms are available at Miller Park but not at the treatment plant.
- Trips 6, 22: Muddy Creek Greenway (half-day)
- This park is managed jointly by Winston-Salem and the Forsyth County parks departments and is just beyond the western limits of town. A paved path provides easy walking as it follows Muddy Creek several miles through horse pastures, soybean fields, scrub growth and woodlands. It is located just off Meadowlark Road, so you can visualize the habitat. We will search for breeding birds such as White-eyed Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Grasshopper Sparrow and Blue Grosbeak. A Port-A-John is available.
- Trips 10, 20: Civitan Park, Salem Creek Greenway & Salem Lake (half-day)
- (NCBT: NW Piedmont Group – Site 1) Civitan Park and the Salem Creek Greenway comprise a restoration area with a greenway that runs parallel to and between a five-acre wetland and Salem Creek. This small city park is adjacent to Winston-Salem State University and is home to such species as Green Heron, Yellow Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird and Orchard Oriole. It is the only known nesting site in the county for Willow Flycatchers and Warbling Vireos. This park also has a nice variety of wildflowers. If time permits, we will swing by Salem Lake, a 365-acre reservoir that is Forsyth County’s largest body of water, to look for lingering waterfowl. An unpaved trail encircles the entire lake. A few minutes here could net a few more songbird species since the shore is wooded and attracts migrants. Restrooms at Salem Lake marina.
- Trips 11, 21 Trip 21 is full: Dinkin’s Bottom Road (half-day)
- This favorite spot of local birders is Yadkin River bottomland with corn and soybean fields, early successional habitat and a shallow pond. Just twenty minutes from our hotel, this is a nice compliment to our field trips to urban parks with woodlands and gardens. Expect a very different experience here. It is good for Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Indigo Bunting, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow and blackbirds. Prothonotary Warblers nest here, and there is a Great Blue Heron rookery. Get your camera ready! No restrooms available.
- Trips 12, 28: Sanders Ridge Vineyard & Big Woods Restaurant (half-day)
- This 17-acre vineyard, restaurant and natural area is set in the Yadkin County countryside where the land has been in the same family for five generations. This outing is ideal for birders and non-birders alike. The grounds are known for the butterflies and wildflowers as well as birds. Take a winery tour where the staff will guide you through the process of wine production. You can also refine your palate by participating in a wine-tasting session. The Big Woods Restaurant serves an excellent lunch in a beautiful setting from noon until 2:00 so if you want a change from our typical field trip fast-food fare, your first stop will be at the restaurant. We suggest carpooling for the half-hour drive, and we'll need designated drivers for this field trip.
- Trip 13: Blue Ridge Parkway Butterflies, Wildflowers & Birds (all day)
- Our leader for this trip will be focusing on butterflies and wildflowers as well as the birds listed in the following description. Our route is along NC Hwy 21 up the escarpment through Roaring Gap to the Blue Ridge Parkway. A stop at Little Glade Mill Pond at milepost 230 should yield tanagers, orioles and warblers in the hardwoods on either side of the parkway. The next stop is Mahogany Rock where hummingbirds, Indigo Bunting, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green and Black-throated Blue Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow-breasted Chat are sometimes found. Grassy fields at the Bluffs Lodge sometimes harbor Grasshopper Sparrows and Horned Larks. If time permits, we will stop at Basin Creek at the south side of Doughton Park and look for Hooded and Worm-eating Warblers, waterthrushes, redstarts, thrushes and Acadian Flycatchers. The fields along Longbottom Road are good for hawks, Wild Turkey, Eastern Kingbird and Tree Swallow. In addition to all these birds, your leader will hone in on the abundant butterflies and wildflowers along the way. Bring snacks, water and lunch for this full day outing. There are restrooms at Doughton Park and limited toilet facilities elsewhere.
- Trips 14, 30: Stone Mountain SP, Blue Ridge Parkway, Doughton Park (all day)
- This trip takes us to four NC Important Bird Areas, giving us opportunities for a long list of species. First we’ll cruise through Stone Mountain State Park, with brief stops for warblers. Louisiana Waterthrush and Swainson’s Warbler are possibilities here. Next we’ll pass through Wilkes County fields where we will watch for Wild Turkey and Tree Swallows. From there, our route will take us along Long Bottom Road where we will stop to bird Basin Creek for Acadian Flycatchers and several species of warblers, including Northern Parula, Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-throated, Black and White, Worm-eating and American Redstart. After ascending the escarpment on Hwy 18, we’ll take the Parkway north to the upper end of Doughton Park, stopping at overlooks, including our fourth IBA, Mahogany Rock, for Common Ravens, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Chestnut-sided Warblers and possibly Red-breasted Nuthatchs. On our return to Winston-Salem along Hwy 21 through Roaring Gap, we’ll make a brief stop to check the lakes for Wood Ducks and late migrant waterfowl. Bring snacks, water and lunch for this full day outing. Restrooms are available at Doughton Park and at convenience stores and gas stations along the route.
- Trips 15, 31 Trip 15 is cancelled: Hanging Rock State Park & Surrounding Area (all day)
- (NCBT: NW Piedmont Group – Site 7) Hanging Rock State Park offers sheer cliffs and peaks of bare rock, quiet forests and cascading waterfalls, and views of the piedmont plateau that stretch for miles. Peregrine Falcon and Common Raven can be seen performing aerial acrobatics during courtship. Listen for Black-throated Green Warblers, Worm-eating Warblers and Hooded Warblers along any number of the trails including the short trails to the five waterfalls in the park. The mountain laurel and rhododendron make this area especially beautiful in the spring. Although there are several strenuous trails in the park, we will be on trails that are moderate to easy. Bring snacks, water and lunch for this full day outing. Restrooms are available in the park.
- Trips 16, 32: New River State Park (all day)
- This park, which is a 90-minute drive from our hotel, is a NC Important Bird Area. Rugged hillsides, pastoral meadows and farmlands surround what is believed to be one of the oldest river is North America – the New River. We will visit two of the three areas in the State Park, plus bird along beautiful stretches of the river where we could well see Black-billed Cuckoo, Willow Flycatchers, Golden-winged Warblers, Baltimore Orioles and more. Bring snacks, water and lunch for this full day outing. Restrooms are available at two locations in the park.
- Trip 29: Blue Ridge Parkway South (all day)
- This trip is identical to Trip 13 but without the focus on butterflies and wildflowers. Although the leader will be concentrating on finding birds, there will undoubtedly be others in the group who will recognize and identify the butterflies and flowers. The route is along NC Hwy 21 up the escarpment through Roaring Gap to the Blue Ridge Parkway. A stop at Little Glade Mill Pond at milepost 230 should yield tanagers, orioles and warblers in the hardwoods on either side of the parkway. The next stop is Mahogany Rock where hummingbirds, Indigo Bunting, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green and Black-throated Blue Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow-breasted Chat are sometimes found. Grassy fields at the Bluffs Lodge sometimes harbor Grasshopper Sparrows and Horned Larks. If time permits, we will stop at Basin Creek at the south side of Doughton Park and look for Hooded and Worm-eating Warblers, waterthrushes, redstarts, thrushes and Acadian Flycatcher. The fields along Longbottom Road are good for hawks, Wild Turkey, Eastern Kingbird and Tree Swallows. Bring snacks, water and lunch for this full day outing. There are restrooms at Doughton Park and limited toilet facilities elsewhere.