Trip Report


Tryon & Polk County Explorer
April 5, 2016


Blue-headed Vireo by Virginia Senechal


     The predictions were for a colder than normal, windy day and yes, the weather forecast was accurate. We all met in Saluda as the wind whistled around us – even the newly-arrived Barn Swallows were sheltering under the awnings of the fuel station. With the windy conditions we decided to try and find places to bird which were not too exposed and windy.
Our first spot was the leeside of Warrior Mountain. The Walcott tract is a patch of protected woodland with some mature trees which attract some several breeding warblers. Still being quite early in the season many spring birds had not arrived, but we did hear and see both Black-and-white and Black-throated Green Warblers. A nice surprise was a small flock of Purple Finches that were singing and feeding in a flowering maple tree – a good sight considering Purple Finches have been scarce most of the winter.

   The nearby Green River Cove Road was our next birding spot, but the higher reaches of the road were still quite windy. Despite the cold winds we still managed to see or hear Blue-headed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Black-throated Green, Yellow-throated and more Black-and-white Warblers and at least 2 Prairie Warblers and a White-eyed Vireo were singing in the lower elevations. We had our picnic lunch in the sunshine at Lake Adger. Aside from a couple of Osprey flying around, there were no shorebirds due to the high water. A few Northern Rough-winged and Tree Swallows were flying over the lake allowing us to study the quite different flight patterns of these swallows.

   We finished the day just over the State line in the farm country of South Carolina. Again, many of the spring birds had not yet appeared. The views are always beautiful down along the Pacolet River and a distant (very) Northern Bobwhite was calling. Some Barn Swallows were feeding over the fields, and a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were calling in the roadside trees. We just had one more thing to do and that was to check on the Barn Owl. Yes, he was there again. And a great sight to see after a gap of a couple of years
Despite the windy conditions and the cooler than average temperatures we had a great early spring day in the Southern Foothills.


Simon Thompson

Birds seen or heard on our

Tryon & Polk County Explorer
April 5, 2016

Species encountered (55)



Northern Bobwhite (Heard only)
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock (Feral Pigeon)
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Barn Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Pileated Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo

Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch (Heard only)
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher

European Starling

Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat (Heard only)
Northern Parula (Heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler (Heard only)
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch

American Goldfinch