We started our day at the Martin Candler section of the Sandy Mush Gamelands, where much of the ground was still covered by an overnight frost. The sky was an intense blue and we walked the trails hoping to hear Northern Bobwhite. Alas they were quiet, but the morning was brightened by a local guy running his Beagles. The pack of dogs were so cute as they ran through the brush looking for rabbits, all with their collars and tracking aerials. A female American Kestrel was sitting atop a nest box and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks were seen mating atop a distant tree- all signs of spring! A walk at Bear Creek, another nearby portion of the Sandy Mush Gamelands, was particularly quiet with very few birds, so we moved on to the MSD along the French Broad River. The Purple Martins had not arrived yet and the colony was quiet except for a few European Starlings and a pair of Wood Duck on the French Broad River. Hopefully the Martins will be back soon. Our next stop was near UNCA where a female Rufous Hummingbird was super cooperative and soon appeared for a few quick photos. Thanks to David for keeping her safe and fed all winter. Another stop at UNCA produced a beautiful Great Horned Owl and her well-grown chick. We finished the day with a picnic down at Lake Julian where a lot of folks were enjoying the warm day and the park’s facilities. We checked the lake, but the quantity of boats on the lake had obviously pushed birds away for the afternoon. We finished the day with some nice birds, but the beautiful weather had probably forced many wintering species farher north.
Birds Seen or Heard on our Rarity Round-up Day Trip – March 10, 2021
Species Encountered: 46 species
Great Horned Owl
House Wren (Heard)