A joint trip between the Museum of Natural Sciences and Wake Audubon visited the Boone area this last weekend. Thanks to Curtis Smalling, NC Audubon’s Mountain area bird biologist and the great birders on the trip we saw 78 species.
We stopped at the Alamance County rest area off of I-40 on Friday afternoon, and though we did not find the Orchard Oriole who usually is there we did find a Ruby-throated Hummingbird sitting on a nest! Everyone got great views in the scope. Thanks to Martha Fisk and her sharp eyes for spotting it.
We birded Saturday morning at Trout Lake, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Moses Cone Manor. Highlights this morning included a Brown Creeper carrying food to it’s nest, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker excavating a cavity, great looks at a very cooperative Chesnut-sided Warbler, and Black-throated Blue Warblers galore. Curtis joined us for lunch at Moses Cone Manor house, and we all headed to Valle Crucis Community Park.
Valle Crucis park runs along the Watuagua River and features a host of nifty mountain birds. Some of the highlights of this afternoon included: Yellow Warbler, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Least and Willow Flycatchers, Tree, Barn and Rough-winged Swallow. Despite looming skies, and even a mid bird walk shower, everyone had a great attitude and got good looks at the birds. After that, we all had ice cream.
Sunday dawned cold, wet and dreary. Despite the weather, we still were able to get some great looks at Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Red-winged Blackbirds in the vicinity of New Market Baptist Church. Curtis took his leave from our group after finding a number of cooperative Golden-winged Warblers at a few different sites and also a lovely American Redstart. We struck out on Vesper Sparrow, it was just to rainy for them, and though we heard Savannah Sparrows we never saw them either. After lunch we did a quick stop on the Stony Bald overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and got a male and (lovely yellow) Scarlet Tananger and also Black-throated Green Warbler.
An uneventful ride home and we were back in Raleigh at 6! Thanks everyone who participated for making it such a fun weekend.
Four intrepid students, Tia Brody, Ali Iyoob, Trevor and Matt Daw along with leaders Becky Desjardins and Rachel Banyal left Raleigh at 4:30 in the morning on May 2 for an 18 hour birdathon through Eastern North Carolina. We started our adventures off at Holly Shelter Gamelands, where highlights included a very cooperative Swainson’s Warbler, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Yello-throated Warbler. We also saw a number of carnivorous plants, including Venus Flytraps growing in the wild. We continued our adventures to Carolina Beach State Park, where we found Painted Buntings, and then onto Fort Fisher where we had a few shorebirds including Terns and an Oystercatcher, Seaside Sparrow, and Greater Shearwater. Our final stop was Masonboro Inlet, where the Least Terns were doing their mating dances, a huge flock of peeps flew around, and late season Northern Gannets dove in the surf. We returned to Raleigh at 6pm. The species total was 100 birds, and though we have not counted up the money we raised we expect to have made quite a bit!