Trip Report


Summer Birds and Wildflowers

Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge, Western NC
Trip Report: Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Turk Cap's Lily


  The weather predictions were for a lovely day with no rain, but usually the bets are off in these mountains. We all met in the morning (armed with raincoats just in case) and drove south towards the Smokies. The temperature was wonderful and the forested mountains just carpeted the mountains – a beautiful sight indeed. Our first stop was at the Pisgah Inn, where the view seemed to go on forever. The fall wildflowers are sometimes more impressive than those in the spring and below us the autumnal floral show was beginning to appear. Yellow Evening Primroses were tall and showy, brilliantly purple Leatherflowers clambered in the vegetation and Wild Bergamot grew in the shady forest edges.

View from Waterrock Knob

  It was still a beautiful day as we watched an Alder Flycatcher along the Black Balsam Road where a Veery sang its ethereal song and small family groups of Cedar Waxwings sat in the tops of the spruce trees. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the future) the Blue Ridge Parkway was being re-surfaced most of the way to Cherokee, so we never made it all the way to Heintooga. Despite that fact, the wildflower show along the road was stunning. Sunflowers, Phlox and Goldenrods were either in full bloom or starting to flower and what was more impressive was the huge number of Pipevine Swallowtails feeding on the fall flowers. Clusters fed on the Turk’s Cap Lilies allowing for some great photographic opportunities.



Birding Group Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
  We finished our day with a walk at Waterrock Knob high in the Balsams. This can be a fairly reliable spot for Black-capped Chickadee, but the individual we found sang like a Black-capped and called like a Carolina. Apparently there is evidence of hybridization in this part of the mountains! The Pipevine Swallowtails were even more impressive here with hundreds, if not thousands, nectaring on the flowers. What a show and what could be better than a stunning day in the Mountains immersed in nature. Thanks to everyone who came along for making the day so enjoyable.




Simon Thompson


Birds and other wildlife seen on our Summer Birds and Wildflowers

Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge, Western NC
Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Wild Turkey
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Alder Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe


Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo (Heard)
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush (Heard)

American Robin

Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Black-throated Green Warbler (Heard)
Canada Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow

Eastern Towhee
Indigo Bunting

American Goldfinch



Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
Turk’s Cap Lily (Liliim superbum)
Fire Pink (Silene virginica)
Leather Flower (Clematis viorna)
Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
Michaux’s saxifrage (Saxifraga michauxii)
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Crown Vetch (Coronilla varia)
Yellow Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp)
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)
Filmy Angelica (Angelica triquinata)
Four-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia)
Dodder (Cuscuta rostrata)
Small-flowered Agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora)
Sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum)
Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)
Carolina Phlox (Phlox Carolina)
Wild Bergamot (Moarda fistulosa)




Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
Wild Basil (Satureja vulgaris)
Mountain Mint – Pycnanthemum incanum)
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
Wood Nettle (Laportea Canadensis)
Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii)
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Green-headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)
Sunflower sp (Helianthus sp)
Greater Coreopisis (Coreopsis major)
Common Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium
Goldenrod sp (Solidago sp)
White Wood Aster (Aster divaricatus)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Polygonum sp





Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtail
Spring/Summer Azure

Silver-spotted Skipper