Spring 2020: Back to the Mountains
April 30 through May 3, 2020
by Marilyn Westphal and Karyl Gabriel, Meeting Planners
We will be returning to the mountains again for the 2020 Spring CBC Meeting in Black Mountain, NC about 10 miles east of Asheville. So it will be time to brush up once again on those mountain warblers and other neotropical migrants that typically breed or travel through the mountains of WNC.
Black Mountain is close to the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, so many of the trips will be on or near the parkway both north and south of Asheville, as well as in the adjacent Pisgah National Forest, all great places for migratory songbirds. Expect typical mountain breeding species such as Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, Canada, Worm-eating, Blackburnian, Swainson's, Cerulean, and many other warblers as well as many tanagers, grosbeaks, thrushes, vireos, and possibly the always unpredictable Red Crossbills. Other sites visited will be along the Blue Ridge Escarpment and at local parks, good places for many other species, and at Max Patch, a historically reliable spot for Golden-winged Warblers and many other warblers. Meeting dates are April 30th to May 3rd.
For those who wish to get a head start on warbler identification, Simon Thompson, owner of Ventures Birding Tours and long-time CBC member, will be providing a warm-up class on Thursday evening, so you'll be ready to head out with confidence on Friday morning. On Friday evening, mountain birders Marilyn Westphal and Marcus Simpson will be discussing their project monitoring Northern Saw-whet Owl nest boxes in the WNC mountains, and on Saturday evening John Carpenter of the Wildlife Diversity Project, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, will introduce plans for the proposed NC Breeding Bird Atlas, a long-awaited project for many of us in North Carolina. This will be a great opportunity to learn how to get involved.
The meeting will be held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly at the Blue Ridge Center, a hotel-like facility, but not a for-profit hotel, on a large, beautiful, wooded property with miles of walking trails and good birding on-site. As this is not a hotel, reservations will be made through CBC. Total cost for single rooms for three nights including three breakfasts (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and two dinners (Friday and Saturday evening) will be $374, and double rooms for three nights including three breakfasts and two dinners will be $225 per person (there is no tax as this is a non-profit facility). All meals are buffet style and include gluten-free and vegetarian choices. Those not staying at the facility can purchase tickets in advance for meal/meals only. For those staying only two nights the rate will be reduced accordingly.
There may also be an opportunity to purchase bag lunches for those going out on all-day trips if planned sufficiently ahead. All rooms have two queen beds and include access to Wifi, but have no TV's or refrigerators. Bring a cooler if you need to keep something cold. Ice will be provided on-site. As this is a YMCA facility, alcoholic beverages must remain out of sight of the public and can only be consumed inside guest rooms and meeting rooms.
More in-depth information and trip descriptions will be provided in the next newsletter. Looking forward to spring in the mountains!