We had a great day of birding on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The morning started off a cool 47 degrees, but warmed up to nicely to around 70 when we ended. The skies were blue, the company was good, and the birds were active. We took a quick stroll around the Folk Art Center parking lot first thing and had PINE SISKIN, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, and MOURNING DOVE. The whole day would be a good mix of residents and migrants.
Our next stop was further up on the parkway to look for warblers. We hopped out of the car and almost immediately heard several species. A WORM-EATING WARBLER was singing from the dry slopes. An INDIGO BUNTING was perching in a tree at eye level giving good views. BLACKBURNIAN, HOODED, and BLACK-THROATED GREEN warblers were also present in the area. The BLACKBURNIAN gave particularly good views of its fire orange throat. What a treat! The real gem of the forest came when we heard a CERULEAN warbler working the trees downslope. It eventually came up and gave us wonderful views, flying on both sides of the road. Our next stop netted a singing WOOD THRUSH, OVENBIRD, and AMERICAN REDSTART. We had a great encounter with a HOODED WARBLER perched low in the shrubs close by.
Moving higher up in elevation we stopped by the Craggy Gardens picnic area where we had our only AMERICAN ROBINS of the day. We also heard WINTER WRENS singing down the mountain, a HAIRY WOODPECKER, and got good views of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. It was time for lunch so we stopped at the Walker Knob pull off for a bite to eat. We were serenaded by BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, both of which gave great views. The real treat of this stop was a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH excavating a nest cavity in a dead tree. We also had a quick, but good view of CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Our last stop of the day was up at Mount Mitchell. We were rewarded by a roadside WILD TURKEY, singing DARK-EYED JUNCOS, and a flyover BROAD-WINGED HAWK.
It was a great day to be out. We tallied 49 species in all. Not bad for a nice April day. I hope to see you out there on the trail.
Blue Ridge Birding
April 26, 2021
49 Species Encountered
Black-throated Green Warbler