Springtime in the North Carolina Mountains
April 27–28, 2018
Marilyn Westphal and Karyl Gabriel
The 2018 CBC Spring Meeting will once again be visiting a favorite spring birding location at the southern end of the North Carolina mountains. Flat Rock, on the eastern side of Hendersonville, is conveniently located between the Blue Ridge Escarpment, where the mountains descend abruptly to the piedmont, and the beautiful Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway. This area includes a range of elevations from one thousand to over six thousand feet with habitats from wetlands, pasture/farmland, to deciduous and coniferous forests, and the variety of songbirds found in the area can be amazing. Within 50 miles of the meeting site are twenty species of warbler, five species of vireo, thrushes, tanagers, orioles, crossbills. Many other species can be found breeding and many, many more songbirds use the area as a thruway to more northern regions from late April into May.
Choose trips from some of the most favored hotspots in the southern Appalachians including the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Escarpment, the Green River Gamelands, and a variety of local parks and greenways. Along the escarpment find some birder favorites like Swainson's, Kentucky, and Worm-eating Warblers, and at higher elevation sites in the forest and along the parkway Cerulean, Canada, Chestnut-sided, and Golden-winged Warblers. It's also a wonderful time of year for spring wildflowers.
For non-birders there are plenty of local sites to visit including the nearby Carl Sandburg home where you can bring yourself back in time to the 1950s, or go back even further in time to the 1890s and visit Biltmore House and Gardens in south Asheville, or stroll the gardens of the North Carolina Arboretum near Asheville only about 30 minutes away.
Our host hotel for the weekend will be the Mountain Lodge and Conference Center located at 42 McMurray Road in Flat Rock, NC, just off I-26, (828) 693-9910. Check-in begins at 3pm and check-out is at 11am. The room rate is $109 per night plus taxes, and includes a complimentary hot breakfast in the Fireplace Lounge each morning of your stay. The CBC rate is good for studio suites (two full beds or king bed with full kitchen) or one bedroom king suites (king bed with separate living room with sleeper sofa and full kitchen). The venue also offers an indoor pool, fitness center, free WiFi and daily housekeeping. There are a wide variety of restaurants within a short drive in Flat Rock and nearby Hendersonville.
The Friday evening program will be held at the Hendersonville City Operations Center near downtown Hendersonville and the Saturday evening program will be held at the Mountain Lodge and Conference Center. Following a brief social gathering the Friday evening speaker will be Derb Carter, Director of the Chapel Hill office of the Southern Environmental Law Center and winner of North Carolina Conservationist of the Year and National Wetlands Awards, who will share his experiences birding in Cuba. Following Saturday evening's buffet banquet our speaker is Julie Zickefoose.
Ms. Zickefoose is a widely published writer, artist and naturalist who writes and paints from Indigo Hill, her 80-acre sanctuary in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio. Her books include Letters from Eden, The Bluebird Effect, and Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest. Ms. Zickefoose will offer a selection of her books and art for sale. The buffet dinner Saturday evening is $30 per person and will include a vegetarian option.
There is something for everyone on this trip! We look forward to seeing you there.