Register Now for the Hickory Fall Meeting — September 18–19, 2015
While we are in the heat of the summer season now, it's hard to believe we are only weeks away from the peak of fall migration, with shorebirds already winging south. Soon we will be thumbing through field guides in an attempt to distinguish confusing plumages of fall warblers and diagnosing poorly lighted silhouettes of high passing raptors as our migrating birds begin their journey south for the winter. If you haven't already, it's time to start making plans to join us in Hickory, NC on September 18–19 for the fall CBC meeting. Hickory lies at the foot of the Blue Ridge and provides an excellent launching point to experience some of the mountains' best fall birding.
Our fall meeting is perfectly timed and located to experience the peak of fall raptor migration in the Southern Appalachians. Many of North Carolina's premier hawk watch destinations are within easy driving distance of Hickory. During the peak of the season, thousands of Broad-winged Hawks might be seen in a day at several of the region's hawk watch sites. Many of our field trips offer opportunities to experience hawk migration along the escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In addition to raptors, the Hickory area is a great location to seek out fall rarities such as Black-billed Cuckoo, Philadelphia Vireo, Red Crossbill, and an enormous variety of fall warblers. Who knows what may show up this year, but as previous meetings in the Hickory area have proven, it's a great place for birding in the fall. The last time our club met in Hickory was in September 2009. At that meeting, 137 participants tallied nearly 120 species including 27 species of warblers. That warbler list may be difficult to surpass, but in fall you just never know what might show up! We will be one week earlier this year versus the 2009 meeting, so it will be interesting to see how a week changes the variety of birds.
We will be staying at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Hickory, located just off Highway I-40 at 1607 Fairgrove Church Rd, Conover. Guests will need to reserve rooms under the Carolina Bird Club block prior to September 3rd by calling 828-465-1100. Rooms not reserved prior to this date will be released back into the hotel's general inventory, and are subject to current rates and availability at the time of booking. The hotel offers many complimentary amenities and a free breakfast buffet that includes cooked-to-order selections. Rates are $82 (not including tax) for all standard rooms and $97 for two-room suites. Rooms have coffee makers, microwaves, and internet.
The La Quinta Inn & Suites Hickory will also be the location for the Friday and Saturday evening programs and other social events related to our meeting. A buffet dinner catered by Liazzo's Catering will be offered Saturday night at a cost of $23 per person. Participants can request a vegetarian dinner when registering.
Friday night features a brief social gathering followed by short presentations from local birders to discuss area birding hotspots. Important Bird Area Coordinator and Mountain Biologist Curtis Smalling will be our banquet speaker following Saturday night's dinner. Curtis will be sharing insight into the life of the Golden-winged Warbler and his work with this species in northwest North Carolina. Curtis has been involved in a number of conservation efforts to protect the species including work with the Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture group, which is focusing on conserving priority species in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
The fall meeting is shaping up to be a blockbuster event, and we sincerely hope you will join us as we celebrate fall migration in the Carolinas. If you haven't made the decision to register yet, we hope this meeting's field trip itinerary will surely help you decide to come join us!