Trip Report


The Orchard at Altapass

September 19, 2015


Black-throated Green Warbler by Alan Lenk



An early morning drive into the High Country of western North Carolina was gorgeous with a colorful sunrise.  Our group met in the parking lot of the orchard and we walked along a gravel road that runs parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  There was not a cloud in the sky and visibility could not have been better.  Almost immediately a skulking Golden-winged Warbler hopped out of some Black Locust saplings.  A Philadelphia Vireo made itself visible hopping nimbly among the low vegetation.  Tennessee Warblers were so numerous it was difficult to not spot one!  We managed to get quick views of a Magnolia and a Cape May Warbler.  We spent the majority of the morning birding along the Orchard Road.  There was so much moving down low we did not look up above to see what was flying a lot.   Fortunately we did see a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly by as well as a few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks that perched nearby giving us better views.


In the late morning we headed a few miles north on the parkway to Hefner Gap.  We pursued a Hooded Warbler that eventually hopped out of the forbs revealing his brilliant plumage.  Cedar Waxwings fed on the top of the nearby ridge.  Scarlet Tanagers also perched near eye level.  Tennessee Warblers continued to come over the ridge feeding ravenously at all heights.


In the early afternoon we headed back to the orchard for lunch.  We spread out our picnic on the back porch and enjoyed the gorgeous view of the recently purchased land that has been put into a conservation easement.  A Broad-winged Hawk soared over the ridge as we munched on our sandwiches.  After lunch a few folks wanted to continue birding so we went back to the Orchard Road and walked further down into the mature canopy forest.  The forest produced a nice flock of warblers including Capy May, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, and an Ovenbird.    We headed back about mid-afternoon concluding a fun, birdy day in the High Country.



Birds seen or heard on our Venture to

The Orchard at Altapass

September 19, 2015


Species encountered (43)

Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo


Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart

Cape May Warbler


Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Mourning Dove