Ventures runs many day trips throughout the Carolinas every year, especially in the western portion of the region. From warblers and woodpeckers in the highest peaks and spruce fir forests around Mt. Mitchell to tanagers and cuckoos in the rich lowland woodlands of the South Carolina Piedmont, we find new and exciting birding destinations throughout our area. Some places are "must visit" spots from year to year but others are new to the birding world. Join us as we explore our own backyard in the Carolinas.

 

 

 

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Bird Songs Workshop 1

"The Basics" Asheville, NC
June 4, 2017

Leader: Emilie Travis

          

   This is part 1 of a 2-part introductory field course to the world of bird vocalizations. We will learn the difference between songs & calls as well as many helpful tips for learning how to recognize the vocalizations of our most common bird species. Much of our morning will be spent listening and watching at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, identifying each singer in the spring chorus. Birding and pace will be slow & easy.

Birding the Balsams

Asheville, NC

June 14, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed

          

   We will head south and visit various locations in the Blue Ridge, looking for some of the area's most exciting birds such as many species of warblers, vireos and several hard-to-identify Empidonax flycatchers. We will probably head as far as Heintooga Overlook, one of the most reliable areas for Red Crossbills in the last few years.
   Typical breeding birds of the higher elevations include Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Winter Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Hermit Thrush and Red Crossbill can be found as well.

Wildflowers & Butterflies 1

Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge & Mt. Mitchell

June 21, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson

          

   We'll drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Mitchell, stopping at the Balsam Gap Overlook to hike a short distance out on the Big Butt Trail.
   We should see showy butterflies such as Eastern Tiger and Pipevine Swallowtails.
   Butterflies tend to "hilltop" later in the day and we will look for Red Admiral, Great Spangled Fritillary and Green Comma (although we may be a little early for this rare species) among many others.

Bird Songs Workshop 2: Asheville, NC

July 10, 2017

Leader: Clifton Avery

          

   There are two main types of bird vocalizations – songs and calls. Do you know the difference? Throughout the day we will hear a melodic collection songs and calls of many warblers, thrushes, vireos, flycatchers and more, and we will outline the general patterns of each species' song and the subtleties of call notes that will make 'birding by ear' much more approachable and fun. Learning bird songs can be daunting, but we will take it slow and focus on those species most commonly heard and seen on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Shorebird Workshop:

Rankin Bottoms, TN

August 27, 2017

Leader: Kevin Burke

          

   When the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) performs its annual draw down of the lake in late summer, the exposed mudflats attract a variety of migrating shorebirds and waders. Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral and Least Sandpipers and Black-crowned Night-Heron are just a few of the more common birds we should see. Buff-breasted Sandpipers, although uncommon, are seen here every year along with Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, and more. Rarities and surprises occur here as well – we have had both American Avocet and Red Phalarope on past tours!

Spectacular Fall Migration (1)

Ridge Junction Overlook, Asheville, NC

August 30, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed

          

   Ridge Junction Overlook is one of the best spots in the Blue Ridge to enjoy the fall migration of warblers and other passerines. August marks the very beginning of the fall migration for quite a few songbirds, and although the peak of fall migration for many species is mid-September, we should still find a nice selection of southbound migrants at the end of August. Over the past few years there have been over 25 species of warblers seen at this spot.

Fall Warbler Workshop 1

Jackson Park Hendersonville, NC

September 6, 2017

Leader: Kevin Burke

          

   Jackson Park in Hendersonville is easily one of the best fall birding spots in all of WNC.  Nearly every migrating songbird in the east has been recorded here, with as many as 23 warblers recorded in a single day! Seldom seen on migration in this area, both Connecticut and Mourning Warblers, have been found in this park. More likely to be seen are Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Cape May, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue, Northern Waterthrush -- the list goes on and on! Early September is a great time to be looking for Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers as they pass through on their way south.

Fall Migration: Historic Orchard at Altapass

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
September 15, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson

          

   We'll drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Mitchell, stopping at the Balsam Gap Overlook to hike a short distance out on the Big Butt Trail.
   We should see showy butterflies such as Eastern Tiger and Pipevine Swallowtails.
   Butterflies tend to "hilltop" later in the day and we will look for Red Admiral, Great Spangled Fritillary and Green Comma (although we may be a little early for this rare species) among many others.

Big Bald Banding Station, NC/TN

September 17, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed

          

   Our day begins with a short hike up to Little Bald birding along the way. At this time of year, migrants should be numerous. Mixed flocks of fall-plumaged Tennessee, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian and Magnolia Warblers, as well as a selection of tanagers, vireos, grosbeaks and flycatchers, will be foraging in the wooded patches near the base of Big Bald. At the station, we will get to see the songbird banding process as each individual bird is banded, measured, weighed and released.

Fall Warbler Workshop 2

Jackson Park Hendersonville, NC
September 20, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed

          

   Jackson Park in Hendersonville is easily one of the best fall birding spots in all of WNC.  Nearly every migrating songbird in the east has been recorded here, with as many as 23 warblers recorded in a single day! Seldom seen on migration in this area, both Connecticut and Mourning Warblers, have been found in this park. More likely to be seen are Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Cape May, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue, Northern Waterthrush -- the list goes on and on!

Spectacular Fall Migration 2

Ridge Junction Overlook, Asheville, NC
September 29, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson

          

   Ridge Junction Overlook is one of the best spots in the Blue Ridge to enjoy the fall migration of warblers and other passerines. Over the past few years there have been over 25 species of warblers seen at this spot, including Blackburnian, Magnolia, Mourning, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided, Hooded, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green…the list is endless.