Valle Crucis Community Park
May 9, 2015
Our drive from Asheville into The High Country was beautiful and we were greeted with clear, blue skies as we pulled into the charming community of Valle Crucis. We began our day birding around the community park. Stepping out of the car Yellow Warbler breeding songs were heard in every direction. We made our way towards the edge of the park, which runs along the Watauga River. There we saw Orchard and Baltimore Orioles as well as Yellow-throated Vireos, and a Pine Warbler. We had the fortune of locating a Willow Flycatcher building her nest that was hanging perilously over the Watauga River in a Red Maple. As we continued our loop we came upon Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers poking around the shoreline of a small pond. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo gave away his hiding spot with a loud call. Other birds seen included Indigo Bunting, Swamp Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, and Belted Kingfisher.
In the late morning we left the community park and drove a few miles down the road to the trailhead for Dutch Creek Falls, a mature forest with a rushing creek. There were lots of folks on the trail but we still had some great looks at a Pileated Woodpecker. We went another ¼ mile up the road to the Appalachian State University Sustainable Farm where there is a small wetland ecosystem. By this time it was quite warm but we still managed to spot an Eastern Kingbird and an Indigo Bunting.
We returned to Valle Crucis Community Park to set up our tasty picnic lunch. We had a lovely day of bird watching in the High Country.