Blowing Rock Spring Meeting
April 28–30, 2016
As birds are poised to travel to the High Country's mountainous forests, waterways and scenic overlooks, we invite you to do the same for our spring meeting in Blowing Rock, NC! The dates for our spring meeting are Thursday April 28 through Saturday April 30. There will be something for everyone at this meeting including numerous field trips, evening owl prowls and our featured speakers, Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson, authors of the Warbler Guide book and associated iOS app. (In case you are not yet familiar with these, you might like to read a review of the book, and a review of the app.)
Online registration opens on Monday, March 21 at 8 AM.
Our last meeting in Blowing Rock was held in 2011 when participants tallied 130 species including Swainson's Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Vesper Sparrow, Ruffed Grouse and both cuckoo species! This year, we hope to focus on warblers with several walks geared to get looks at specialty warblers and migrant flocks. One goal of the meeting is to have participants walk away with a better appreciation for, and understanding of, this special group of birds.
To search for these and other migrant species, we'll travel throughout the High Country to many iconic locales. The Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain and Elk Knob will be the backdrop for us as we enjoy the annual passage of flycatchers, vireos, warblers and other migrants on their way to the High Country and points north. A few trips will visit Lewis Fork Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway—one known site for breeding Cerulean Warbler. Participants searching for the greatest variety should find it at Valle Crucis Community Park where just about anything in the High Country is a possibility.
A trip to engage newer birders and teach birding skills will be offered on Friday, and a trip led by and designed for young birders will be offered on Saturday. Birders who haven't birded at the Wagner Property will want to sign up early, as this opportunity has been provided exclusively for our meeting!
A new experience for Friday evening will be offered at this meeting: owl prowls. Three opportunities to bird in the evening will be offered following a social gathering on Friday evening. We'll target the Northern Saw-whet Owl for each of these trips!
New locations include the Wilson Creek Area—an opportunity to travel from the edge of the Blue Ridge down to the base of the mountains through varied habitats that bring varied bird species. Another new trip—Big Lost Cove Cliffs—provides an opportunity to spot a Peregrine Falcon on a hike out to remarkable cliffs that look toward Grandfather Mountain.
Our meeting will be headquartered at the historic Green Park Inn. The Green Park is located on US-321 in Blowing Rock (travel north on US-321 from I-40 in Hickory). A select number of rooms were allotted for us at the Green Park Inn. Rooms at the Green Park Inn may be booked by calling (828) 414-9230. (At last check, the Green Park Inn was already full, but you can check in case of a cancellation.) Room rates vary nightly from $78 on Thursday for a Standard Queen to $139 on Friday for a Superior King room with a balcony (prices are before tax). The inn will answer any questions about the rooms. They are offering us a third-night stay discount too—ensure you mention the Carolina Bird Club! Rates include an early breakfast and coffeemakers in each room.
A second option for lodging is one mile away from the Green Park at the Holiday Inn Express in Blowing Rock. Rooms are $69 on Thursday and $89 nightly on Friday and Saturday (prices are before tax). All rooms have 2 queen beds. The hotel offers a complimentary hot breakfast each morning, which starts at 5:30 AM to accommodate our early starts. Please call (828) 295-4422 and mention the Carolina Bird Club to get our rates!
A buffet dinner will be prepared by the Green Park Inn's chef on Saturday evening. This delicious meal will be provided for $30 per person (which includes taxes and gratuity). It includes a salad, bread, entrée options, several sides, and dessert. An equally delicious vegetarian option is available!
Following our meal on Saturday, our featured speakers Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson will describe the beauty, field marks, and their passion for the nearly 40 species of warblers found in the eastern US. Their book will be available for sale and signing at a reduced rate!
Whatever trips you choose, you will find friendly trip leaders, beautiful birds, and gorgeous vistas. We hope you enjoy looking forward to this special meeting in a special location!