CBC Spring Meeting—Hendersonville, NC
Jesse Pope and Karyl Gabriel
Very few places in the Carolinas offer a better birding destination in spring than the mountains of North Carolina! Join us in May as we celebrate a new season and the return of our spring migrant birds. With trips visiting well-known and productive birding locations including Jackson Park, Mt. Mitchell, Chimney Rock Park, Sandy Mush Gamelands, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is a meeting you won't want to miss.
Western North Carolina's diverse landscape provides a wide array of habitat for breeding birds that will be returning or have already returned by the time our meeting arrives. Early May in the mountains is a magical time when migration, a variety of birdsong, and other ephemeral wonders of spring, including the brilliant array of wildflowers, take place.
Hendersonville, just 20 miles south of Asheville, offers easy access to a variety of historical and cultural attractions for the birder and non-birding partner alike. These include the world famous Biltmore House, America's largest private residence, as well as the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, the Flat Rock Playhouse, and more.
The area offers a rich diversity of habitats from spruce-fir forests at high elevations down to cove hardwood forests in valley floors. The area is a great transitional zone between northern and southern boundaries of flora and fauna. The mountaintops offer boreal ecosystems similar to what we see in Canada and are home to breeding Pine Siskins, Common Ravens, Red Crossbills and many more. The lower elevations in Western North Carolina can be equally productive for more southern species such as Swainson's Warbler and others.
When we last gathered in Hendersonville in the spring of 2007 we finished the weekend with 168 species, including 34 warblers. Red-letter birds included Black-billed Cuckoo, Pacific Loon, Baird's Sandpiper, Red Crossbill, Dickcissel, Sedge Wren and Lincoln's and Grasshopper Sparrows. While there is no guarantee on what will make an appearance this time, you can see that the possibilities are impressive!
Our host hotel will be the Best Western Hendersonville Inn, located at 105 Sugarloaf Road. This is just off Exit 49A on I-26. The hotel hosts the El Paso Mexican Restaurant on-site, with roughly 15 other dining establishments within a short drive. If you don't find what you are looking for nearby, Asheville is just 25 minutes away. A deluxe continental breakfast is included with your room, and will be served daily from 6-10. The breakfast menu includes biscuits and gravy, eggs, a variety of hot and cold cereals, fruit, pastries, coffee and orange juice. To make your room reservations, call 828-692-0521, extension 266. The CBC rate of $79.99 plus tax is good for rooms with two doubles or one king bed. Be sure to mention “CBC” to get the special rate.
Interesting programs are planned for both nights of the spring meeting. Appalachian University graduate student and current NC Audubon employee John Jones will give a presentation on Friday evening titled: Golden-winged Warblers of the Southern Appalachians: A Behavioral Approach to a Conservation Priority. Golden-winged Warblers are one of the most critically threatened, non-endangered, vertebrate species in eastern North America. With drastic population declines occurring throughout their breeding range (-76% since 1966), the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group has developed conservation protocols in an attempt to restore populations throughout their breeding range. Golden-winged Warblers often engage in physical confrontations with the morphologically similar and comparatively abundant Chestnut-sided Warbler. Jones's research at Appalachian State focuses on the behavioral ecology of Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers and interactions between these two species. He will discuss his project as well as his field plans for 2014.
Saturday night we will be holding a dessert social and then we are delighted to welcome back world renowned birder, co-owner of Asheville's Wild Birds Unlimited, and owner of Ventures Birding and Nature Tours, Simon Thompson, for another wonderful presentation titled: Warblers, Tanagers and Woodcreepers: How “Our” Birds Fit Into a Tropical Landscape. From the rich Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina to the epiphyte-laden forests of South America, join Simon as we explore the connection between the Cerulean Warblers that breed in Western North Carolina and winter in Colombia and learn how many of our migrants behave as they spend the winter in the tropics.
Registration is open now! Sign up early to ensure the best selection of field trips, and we look forward to seeing you there!
This is just off Exit 49A on I-26. The area around the hotel offers a wide variety of dining establishments from the quick and casual to the fancy and elegant. To make your room reservations, call 828-692-0521, extension 266. The CBC rate of $79.99 plus tax is good for rooms with two doubles or one king bed. Breakfast is included. Be sure to mention “CBC” to get the special rate.