This is the eighth in our new series of County Birding Day-trips. Many of us enjoy County Birding with eBird’s new county maps and the multiple hotspots. We will explore as much as we can during our day and try to hit some of the best hotspots. The birding and pace will be easy, but there will be a fair bit of walking, so wear comfortable footwear and bring suitable clothing and your lunch.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Jackson County is quite mountainous with small communities set far apart in the forested landscape of Western North Carolina. The county is predominantly forest at middle to high elevations, so the diversity of birds is not as rich as in counties in the lower elevations. Regardless of this fact, the forested mountains are spectacular and we are bound to enjoy a great variety of mountain-breeding birds.
We will meet at the parking area on the Balsam Gap Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don’t start counting birds yet, as this spot in actually in Haywood County, so we will drive to Sylva to begin our birding in Jackson County.
One of our first spots will be Jackson County’s Number 1 hotspot, Jackson County Marsh in Sylva. This is one of the few easily accessible wetlands in the county. We will then hit a couple of other lowland spots, such as Monteith Farmstead Park, before we begin to head higher into the Blue Ridge to enjoy the breeding birds like the great selection of warblers – Swainson’s, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, Black-and-White, Hooded, Black-throated Green and many more. We will spend the rest of the day exploring the higher elevations looking for Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet and other denizens of the spruce-fir zone.
Join us for an enjoyable day exploring Jackson County, a very picturesque county with a total eBird list of only 211 species. Let’s see if we can add a couple to the list on our day today as we explore the county.