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The Carolina Bird Club is a non-profit organization that represents and supports the birding community in the Carolinas through its website, publications, meetings, workshops, trips, and partnerships, whose mission is

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The Carolina Bird Club, Inc., is a non-profit educational and scientific association open to anyone interested in the study and conservation of wildlife, particularly birds.

The Club meets each winter, spring, and fall at different locations in the Carolinas. Meeting sites are selected to give participants an opportunity to see many different kinds of birds. Guided field trips and informative programs are combined for an exciting weekend of meeting with people who share an enthusiasm and concern for birds.

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Hendersonville Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions

Updated: the Bat Cave and F.E.N.C.E. trips have been swapped, and the Sandy Mush Gamelands trips have been cancelled.

Friday, May 2 Saturday, May 3
Half-day Morning Half-day Morning
Trip #1Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure
Trip #2Sandy Mush Gamelands (cancelled)
Trip #3Warrior Mountain
Trip #4Big Hungry River
Trip #5Fletcher Park/Lake Julian
Trip #6Jackson Park
Trip #7Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
Trip #20Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River
Trip #21Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure
Trip #22Fletcher Park/Lake Julian
Trip #23Warrior Mountain
Trip #24Big Hungry River
Trip #25Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
Trip #26Jackson Park
Half-day Afternoon Half-day Afternoon
Trip #8Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River
Trip #9Pearson's Falls
Trip #10Fletcher Park/Lake Julian
Trip #11ABat Cave Nature Preserve
Trip #12Mt. Pisgah/Davidson River
Trip #13Jackson Park
Trip #14Birding Techniques for Beginners at Jackson Park
Trip #27Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River
Trip #28Fletcher Park/Lake Julian
Trip #29Mt. Pisgah/Davidson River
Trip #30Sandy Mush Gamelands (cancelled)
Trip #31AF.E.N.C.E.
Trip #32Jackson Park
Trip #33Pearson's Falls
All-day All-day
Trip #15Mt. Mitchell SP/Curtis Creek
Trip #16Blue Wall Preserve
Trip #17Blue Ridge Parkway South
Trip #18Henderson County Hotspots
Trip #19Davidson River area/Pink Beds/Hwy 276
Trip #34Mt. Mitchell SP/Curtis Creek
Trip #35Blue Ridge Parkway South
Trip #36Henderson County Hotspots
Trip #37Davidson River area/Pink Beds/Hwy 276
Trip #38Max Patch and Lake Junaluska

Hendersonville Meeting Field Trip Descriptions

Trips 1, 21: Chimney Rock Park/Lake Lure
Chimney Rock, a 1,000-acre park purchased by the state in 2007, features several trails through mixed hardwood forests and rhododendron thickets. It is a great place for Worm-eating and Swainson's Warblers and many other species, including Peregrine Falcon. Be aware that the trails feature some elevation change. Entrance to the park requires admission (not included in the meeting registration fee), however we do have a discounted group rate. Due to a landslide on one trail, the reduced rate is $10 unless the slide is cleared by May, then the price will be $12 each. Please have exact change or use a credit card. This park, at low elevation, will definitely be one of the best trips of the weekend in terms of quantity and quality of migrants. Restrooms available.
Trips 2, 30: Sandy Mush Gamelands
The Sandy Mush trips have been cancelled because there will be hunting activity.
Trips 3, 23: Warrior Mountain
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. Cerulean 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 drive: approx. 40 miles.
Trips 4, 24: Big Hungry River
Owned by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and a dedicated State Nature Preserve, this deep tributary to the Green River gorge offers 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 drive: approx. 20 miles.
Trips 5, 10, 22, 28: 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 features breeding Willow Flycatchers, and several other water-loving species may also be seen. Lake Julian, a Duke Energy reservoir, is heated throughout the year, which helps bring migrating water birds. Lingering waterfowl could include loons, ducks, geese, cormorants, terns, and gulls. Restrooms available. Walking: level.
Trips 6, 13, 26, 32: Jackson Park
Located next to downtown Hendersonville, this 212-acre city park has a statewide reputation as a birding mecca and features a mix of hardwoods and pines, riparian woodlands, wetlands, streams and fields. As a known migrant trap, 20-25 species of warblers in a day are possible in the fall, and spring birding can approach that number. Add Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a variety of thrushes and flycatchers and you'll know why this park draws in the birders. Easy walking with no hills. Restrooms: yes.
Trips 7, 25: Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
This 10-acre tract is managed by the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society. It consists of mixed hardwoods and pine, along with early successional habitat, and also includes a wetland that abuts Beaver Lake. We'll check the lake for an assortment of swallows such as Northern Rough-winged, Tree and Barn, as well as Chimney Swift. There could also be some lingering waterfowl, along with nesting Green Heron. While walking the boardwalk loop and lake trail, species such as Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, American Redstart and Eastern Kingbird should be seen.
Trips 8, 20, 27: Charles D. Owen Park/Swannanoa River
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, we'll 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 drive: approx. 60 miles.
Trips 9, 33: Pearson's Falls
Comprising 268 acres of rich diverse cove forest with Carolina Hemlock, spring fed streams, and a 90 foot waterfall, Pearson's Falls 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 drive: approx. 28 miles.
Trip 31A: 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 the area. This is primarily a dragonfly and butterfly trip. Walking: easy. Restrooms: yes. Round trip drive: approx. 52 miles.
Trips 12, 29: Mt. Pisgah/Davidson River
This trip going south on the Blue Ridge Parkway provides a nice mix of breeding woodland songbirds found at various elevations. Beginning at the French Broad River Parkway access point, common species include Black-and-white, Worm-eating, and Hooded Warblers, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, three vireo species, Wood Thrush, and Eastern Wood-Pewee. Continuing along the Parkway towards Mt. Pisgah, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, and Canada Warblers, Veery, Blue-headed Vireo, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak become more common. This trip will continue on to Wagon Road Gap down NC 276, stopping at key spots along the way to add Louisiana Waterthrush and Northern Parula, along with a very short side trip up NC 275A to add Swainson's Warbler, and another stop farther down 276 to add Yellow-throated Warbler to the list. Many migratory species such as Cape May, Blackpoll, and Magnolia Warblers are also quite possible anywhere along the way.
Trip 14: Birding Techniques for Beginners at Jackson Park
This trip will dedicate a large amount of time to teaching various birding techniques including: locating birds, basic vocal and visual identification tips, group birder etiquette, and other useful birding tips. This trip is designed for any beginning to intermediate birder looking to enhance their birding skills in the setting of Jackson Park, a mountain birding hot spot in spring and fall. Beyond the development of these basic birding techniques and skills, participants will also be able to hone these skills while in the field looking at live birds. This trip will take a slower approach, with time spent focusing on techniques and field marks rather than a complete species inventory of everything at the park.
Trips 15, 34: Mt. Mitchell SP/Curtis Creek
For a great list of many of the breeding woodland species of the Southern Appalachians, this is the trip. Starting at Craven Gap, we will drive north on the Parkway looking for Cerulean, Blackburnian, Black-and-white, Worm-eating, Hooded, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Chestnut-sided Warblers as well as Ovenbird, American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Veery, Red-eyed, Blue-headed, and Yellow-throated Vireos, and Eastern Wood-Pewee. In the spruce/fir zone of the Black Mountains/Mt. Mitchell, species such as Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Least Flycatcher, and possibly Pine Siskin and Red Crossbill could be added. Time permitting, we will continue down Curtis Creek Rd. to search for Louisi- ana Waterthrush and Swainson's Warbler. Several other migrating species could also be found passing through the area.
Trip 16: Blue Wall Preserve
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 may see a variety of birds: Wood Duck, woodpeckers, nuthatches, flycatchers, thrushes, abundant warblers, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting and maybe a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Ruffed Grouse is possible, as is raven. A segment of SC's Palmetto Trail, the preserve also offers wildflowers and blooming shrubs. Round trip hike is about 5.5 miles. Walking: easy/ moderate. Restrooms: no. Round trip drive: approx. 62 miles.
Trips 17, 35: Blue Ridge Parkway South
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, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and perhaps a soaring raven. From there we will go south to Devil's Courthouse where Saw-whet Owls call at night. Then it's back to Graveyard Fields for the birds and 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 drive: approx. 90 miles.
Trips 18, 36: 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 drive: approx. 56 miles
Trips 19, 37: Davidson River area/Pink Beds/Hwy 276
We travel up Hwy 276 through Pisgah National Forest stopping to bird at Davidson River Campground and the Cradle of Forestry for warblers (including Black-throated Blue and Green), vireos, and thrushes. 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 that pass through open meadows and forest. Restrooms: yes. Walking: mostly level. Round trip drive: approx. 75 miles.
Trip 11A: Bat Cave Nature Preserve
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 three 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 drive: approx. 26 miles.
Trips 38: Max Patch and Lake Junaluska
If you want to see Golden-winged Warblers, this is the trip for you! Generally 15-20 other warbler species may be found, including Blackburnian, Canada, and Chestnut-sided. Least Flycatcher can be plentiful, along with Winter Wren, Veery, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and other middle elevation species. The lake often has waterfowl surprises. No restrooms. Walking: limited/level/hills.

The times listed above are when the cars are lined up in the parking lot and leaving. Please be there at least 10 minutes early and identify yourself to the leader. If you decide not to go on a trip, either scratch through your name beforehand on the supplied lists, or show up at the meeting place and tell someone.

All trips depart from the hotel parking lot. Look for the placard with your trip number. There will be a sheet with all directions for your trips e-mailed to you in advance. Please bring it on each trip as caravans sometimes break down, and, if so, you'll still be able to get to the trip site. Get the leader's cell number before you leave, just in case.

Food for purchase during field trips may be somewhat limited. Accordingly, plan to take snacks and beverages with you, and be sure to pack a lunch for the all day trips.

We try to take as few vehicles as possible on field trips in order to save fuel, make caravanning easier, and to make better use of the limited parking that exists at some stops. Please plan on carpooling, and if you would like to drive and have room for new or old friends, please let your trip leader know when you arrive for your outing.

Please note that the traditional Saturday evening buffet will not be offered in Hendersonville due to lack of catering facilities. A wide variety of dining options from fast/casual to fine dining are available within a short distance from the host hotel.

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