About the Club

Mission Statement

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.

The Club offers research grants in avian biology for undergraduate and graduate students, and scholarships for young birders.

The Club publishes two print publications (now also available online). The Chat is a quarterly ornithological journal that contains scientific articles, reports of bird records committees and bird counts, and general field notes on bird sightings. CBC Newsletter is published bimonthly and includes birding articles and information about meetings, field trips, and Club news.

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By becoming a member, you support the activities of the Club, receive reduced registration fee for meetings, can participate in bonus field trips, and receive our publications.

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Meeting info

Hickory Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions

New trip added: Camp Harrison (Trip 27)

Friday, September 18 Saturday, September 19
Half-day Morning Half-day Morning
Trip #1 Riverbend County Park 7:45
Trip #2 Bakers Mountain County Park 7:45
Trip #3 Hickory City Parks 7:30
Trip #4 Wagner Property 7:00
Trip #5 Lenoir Greenway 7:10
Trip #14Riverbend County Park 7:45
Trip #15Bakers Mountain County Park 7:45
Trip #16Hickory City Parks 7:30
Trip #17Wagner Property 7:00
Trip #18Lenoir Greenway 7:10
Half-day Afternoon Half-day Afternoon
Trip #6 Catawba River Greenway 1:10
Trip #7 Murray's Mill Historic Site 1:00
Trip #8 Wagner Property 1:00
Trip #9 Hickory City Parks 1:15
Trip #10 Lenoir Greenway 1:20
Trip #19Catawba River Greenway 1:10
Trip #20Murray's Mill Historic Site 1:00
Trip #21Wagner Property 1:00
Trip #22Hickory City Parks 1:15
Trip #23Lenoir Greenway 1:20
All-day All-day
Trip #11Rocky Face Recreation Area 7:00
Trip #12Ridge Junction: Blue Ridge Parkway 5:00
Trip #13Boone and the High Country 6:30
Trip #27Camp Harrison 7:00
Trip #24 Rocky Face Recreation Area 7:00
Trip #25 Ridge Junction: Blue Ridge Parkway 5:00
Trip #26 Linville Gorge Wilderness Area 6:30

Fall Meeting Planning Notes

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 at the registration table, or show up at the meeting place and tell someone.

All trips depart from the La Quinta Inn and Suites Hickory from the lobby and the parking lot. Look for the placard with your trip number. You will receive a sheet with all directions for your trips in your registration packet. Please bring it on each trip as caravans sometimes break down, and, if so, you'll still be able to get to the birding 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.

Hickory Meeting Field Trip Descriptions

Trips 1 & 14: Riverbend County Park
This 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: Bakers Mountain County 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. The best part is that you do not even have to leave the parking area to see beautiful and breathtaking birds like the Black-throated Blue Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Hooded Warbler and many others! The park covers 189 acres on the north side of Bakers Mountain and is operated by Catawba County. We will look for migrating raptors from the observation platform located near the top of the mountain. Golden Eagles have been seen several times during the fall, along with hundreds of Broad-winged Hawks!
Trips 3, 9, 16 & 22: 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 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, 17 & 21: Wagner Property
This is, easily, one of the best birding spots in our area. Located in Happy Valley, NC, the private property will be generously opened up to us again for the CBC meeting. The property consists of 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, 10, 18 & 23: Lenoir Greenway
The Lenoir Greenway includes 7 miles of paved 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 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 & 19: Catawba River Greenway
The Catawba River and Freedom Trail Greenways are paved trails that follow more than 4 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, Yellow-throated, Philadelphia, and White-eyed Vireos have all been seen here in the fall. Waterfowl are also a possibility. This is an easy walk and is ADA accessible.
Trips 7 & 20: Murray's Mill Historic Site
A 10-minute drive from I-40, the Murray's Mill Historic District, in the rolling countryside of eastern Catawba County, nestles just as it was a century ago along the banks of Balls Creek. The millpond and surrounding area make for a great backdrop to go birding during fall migration. The large millpond is a great place to scope out waterfowl, and the adjoining riparian areas scattered around mixed hardwood deciduous forests can be great places to search for fall migrants.
Trips 11 & 24: Rocky Face Recreation Area
Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s. The site was a former quarry operation that began in 1922, with operations ceasing in the early 1940s. There have also been agricultural uses such as apple and peach orchards, wheat fields, and vineyards near the site. In 2003, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program signed an agreement that put Rocky Face Mountain on the North Carolina Registry of Natural Heritage Areas because of its unique qualities. Today, the former rock quarry area includes a paved ADA walking track as well as picnic shelter, restrooms, and park office. The quarry area features a sheer cliff face that is attractive to migrating raptors. Outside the quarry area, the park includes 5 miles of hiking trails that takes hikers along the top of the quarry cliffs and to the mountain peak. The trail also features various markers depicting some of the rare plants that are located at the park. This trip will include birdwatching as well as exploring the location's unique flora and non-avian fauna. Migrating raptors, dragonflies and butterflies are a sure bet. The hike to the top of Rocky Face is a strenuous hike up pretty steep terrain to the summit.
Trips 12 & 25: Ridge Junction
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 one's breath should be 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 have a chance at seeing a Black Bear while driving up the Parkway!) 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 in 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 13: 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 in small wetlands near a pond. Orchard and Baltimore Orioles and Black-billed Cuckoos will be on our watch list. We will explore several other spots before returning to Hickory.
Trip 26: Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
The Linville Falls area can be a great birding spot in fall. There are two main trails at Linville Falls; each starts at the visitor center and provides birding opportunities and views of the waterfalls. A variety of birds, including Osprey, Belted Kingfisher and Wood Duck, may be seen along the river. Along the trails, watch for Blackburnian, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Hooded and Black-and-white Warblers, Ovenbird, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Red Crossbill and Swainson's Warbler have been observed along the gorge, and Peregrine Falcon nest nearby. Several locations along this route will be great vantage points for watching migrating hawks as well. We will be birding around the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, making several stops in a variety of mountain habitats.
Trip 27: Camp Harrison
This will be an all-day trip that will depart at 7:00 and begin with a stop along the Lenoir Greenway for migrant songbirds and other passerines, and will conclude with a visit to Camp Harrison in Boomer. Participants will visit the lake briefly to look for shorebirds and any other migrants that might be present. Afterwards folks will hike up Herring Ridge on a moderately-difficult 1/2 mile trail to an an overlook area where the focus will be migrant raptors, primarily kettling Broad-winged Hawks. Folks should pack a lunch, wear sturdy footwear suitable for traversing uneven terrain, and bring along their preferred sun protection methods as observation will take place on a west-facing slope.

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