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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Fall Migration In The Green River Gamelands

Polk County, NC
September 23, 2017

Leader: Clifton Avery

          

   We will begin higher up in the Escarpment and work our way down in elevation, perhaps as far as Lake Adger, looking for these mixed flocks. We should see an excellent variety of stuff, including Tennessee, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Magnolia, Black-and-white, Yellow-throated, Black-throated Green, and many other warblers, as well as Swainson’s, Wood, & Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and up to 6 species of Vireo.
    Lake Adger could hold waders or shorebirds (depending on water levels) in addition to southbound Blue-winged Teal, Osprey, or Bald Eagle.  We’ll also make a stop by the Big Hungry tract of the game lands, one of the most reliable spots for Red-headed Woodpeckers in the mountains.
    Fall migration is always great fun and you never really know what exactly you’ll find! Join Clifton for what should be an excellent day full of warblers, vireos, tanagers and other fall migrants.

French Broad River Greenway and Carrier Park

Asheville, NC
September 26, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson

          

   We will start our day at Carrier Park, with walking trails and paths extending along the French Broad River. Cedar Waxwing, Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler nest in the riverside willows and birches, along with Eastern Kingbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and many of our familiar local species.

   The paved walking trail extends west from Carrier Park for about 2 miles to the quiet put-in at Hominy Creek River Park. Head east instead and you will end up in French Broad River Park, which one day will extend north to the New Belgium Brewery.

Fall Migration In Cades Cove

Great Smoky Mountains NP, TN
September 27, 2017

Leader: Keith Watson

          

   We will explore various habitats throughout Cades Cove on this walking and driving tour through one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park most beautiful treasures where over 119 avian species have been recorded in September.  Beginning in the parking area and campground, we’ll look and listen for migrant songbirds such as warblers, vireos, and tanagers.  Moving around the Cove in a small caravan, we’ll explore the fields, hedgerows, forest and forest edge for grassland birds, early successional species like Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Meadowlark, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Northern Bobwhite, Field Sparrows, Yellow-breasted Chat and Common Yellowthroat.

Spectacular Fall Migration 3

Ridge Junction Overlook, Asheville, NC
September 27, 2017

Leader: Kevin Burke

        

   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.
We even had a young female Kirtland’s Warbler on our September trip here last year! Other species include Broad-winged and Sharp-shinned Hawks, Swainson’s, Wood, Gray-cheeked, Hermit and even Bicknell’s Thrushes, Red-eyed, Blue-headed and Philadelphia Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager and many more.

Spectacular Fall Migration 2

Ridge Junction Overlook, Asheville, NC
September 29, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson

Trip is Full          

   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.

Fall Warbler Workshop 3

Jackson Park Hendersonville, NC

October 1, 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 in Sevier County, TN

An Exploration for High Elevation Specialties and Migrants
October 3, 2017

Leader: Keith Watson

          

   We’ll begin by searching the parking area and immediate environs for migrants songbirds such as warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, etc. and the always present high elevation specialties of the Great Smokies; Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Common Raven, kinglets, and hopefully, Red Crossbill, one of the most reliable spots in the park.   Then we’ll take a little stroll along the Appalachian Trail into Spruce-Fir forest to look for more species missed in the parking areas.  From here, we’ll caravan down to Emerts Cove, a rural agricultural and residential area where fall migration can often be spectacular.  Over 110 species have been observed here including 22 species of warbler and 11 species of sparrows.

Seven Islands

State Birding Park, Tennessee

October 5, 2017

Leader: Keith Watson

          

   We will spend the morning and some of the afternoon exploring trails through the diverse habitats found at Seven Islands. An abundance of early successional habitat here harbors good numbers of Yellow-breasted Chat, Indigo Bunting and Common Yellowthroat. Northern Bobwhite is also fairly common, but very tough to see. A walk through the wide range of habitats should bring us an excellent selection of southbound migrants, including warblers, sparrows and maybe shorebirds along the river.

Big Bald Banding Station 2, NC/TN

October 8, 2017

Leader: Clifton Avery

          

   Our day begins with a short hike up to Little Bald birding along the way. At this time of year, migrants should still be passing through. Mixed flocks of fall-plumaged Tennessee, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Bay-breasted and Magnolia Warblers, as well as a selection of tanagers, vireos, grosbeaks and flycatchers, should 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. Seeing birds such as warblers and Empidonax flycatchers up close as they are banded provides an invaluable insight into plumage and structural differences that can aid in field identification.

Morganton Greenway

Morganton, NC

October 15, 2017

 

Leader: Clifton Avery

          

   Join Ventures as we explore the birds of the NC foothills along the Catawba River.  The Morganton Greenway is an excellent place to view fall migrants heading south. We will be on the lookout for various warblers, vireos, and other neotropical species and we may even see the first of the wintering sparrows returning. Blue-winged Teal can be seen from various viewpoints of the river and there is a chance we could find other southbound ducks as well.  We will talk about the importance of floodplains and how they provide vital habitat for many birds as well as the importance of the beautiful Catawba River Basin.

Sparrow Workshop 1

Warren Wilson College & Owen Park
Swannanoa, NC
October 23, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed

          

   Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa is characterized mostly by agricultural fields and riparian woodland, and contains a network of public trails that is accessible from adjacent Charles D. Owen Park. Many of the species we will see are indicative of this predominately open country, such as Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Red-tailed Hawk and Song and Field Sparrows. This time of year is also excellent for sparrows as newly arrived overwintering species such as White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp and Savannah Sparrows can be found alongside transient Vesper and Lincoln's Sparrows.

Fall Birding at Grove Stone Quarry

Swannanoa, NC
October 29, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson

          

   The Grove Stone & Sand Quarry has constructed a nature trail, planted plots of clover and rye to attract deer and wild turkeys and converted an old landfill into a butterfly garden. The quarry property covers about 1,600 acres in Swannanoa. Wildlife is abundant and we hope to see an excellent selection of late summer butterflies and migrant birds.

Sparrow Workshop 2

Kituwah Farm
Bryson City, NC
November 5, 2017

Leader: Kevin Burke

          

   The habitats here are a mix of early successional grassy fields, floodplain forest and riparian corridor, all of which are quite attractive for a host of sparrows. One can regularly find excellent numbers of White-crowned, White-throated, Song, Swamp, Field and Savannah Sparrows, while more uncommon species such as Vesper and Lincoln's Sparrows are possible. Our focus will be on sparrow identification but of course we will be on the lookout for anything else we can find, from any lingering neotropical migrants to raptors such as Red-tail, Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and American Kestrel.

Duck Day

Exploring the Lakes and Reservoirs of Henderson,
Haywood & Buncombe Counties, NC

December 17, 2017

Leader: Kevin Burke

          

   Join us for a day out in western North Carolina as we visit several of the area's lakes and ponds for ducks and other waterfowl. Winter is by far the best time of the year for waterfowl here in WNC and most of the birds should be in their full breeding colors in anticipation of the upcoming breeding season.

   Species seen varies with each trip, but we hope to see all or a selection of the following: Wood Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canada Goose, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Duck. Local rarities have included: Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, and Snow, Ross's and Greater White-fronted Geese.