Spring at Sandy Mush Game Land

Prairie Warbler by Alan Lenk

Buncombe County, NC
April 8, 2021

American Kestrel by Alan Lenk

Register by clicking the ‘book now’ button above, or by contacting the Ventures office. We accept credit cards for an additional fee (2.9% for MC, Visa, Discover; 3.9% for AmEx), but you may also pay by bank transfer, cash, check, or money order. This Venture is limited to 8 participants

Meeting Place: We will meet at the Ingles on the corner of Merrimon Ave and Beaverdam Rd. Address: 915 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 TIME: meet at 7:30 AM; return to Ingles by 2:30 PM (or earlier, weather depending) COST: $55 per person – picnic lunch not currently included (until further notice)


A morning spent exploring the woodlands and fields of Sandy Mush Game Lands for a variety of warblers and other spring migrants. Mostly easy walking along dirt roads and paths, with minimal steep hikes. Trails may be muddy. Bring good hiking boots and long pants.

The Sandy Mush Gamelands in the northern part of Buncombe County have only recently begun to be thoroughly explored for birds and butterflies. The habitats here vary from open, managed cut-over areas to cove and riverine forests down along Sandy Mush and Turkey Creeks, as well as the French Broad River. Though it’ll be early spring, we can expect to find a nice mix of overwintering species and newly arrived spring residents. Sparrows should still be in good numbers with White-throated, Song, Swamp, Field and Chipping all likely. A few coveys of Northern Bobwhite reside in the fields and occasionally we get to see them. There are numerous American Kestrel nest boxes throughout the Gamelands and we should see a few of these small, beautiful falcons perched on telephone poles and wires, or hovering over the grass looking for prey. Blue-headed Vireos nest here as well and we should hear their sweet songs in the woodlands, while Eastern Meadowlarks should be in full voice in the open areas. Wild Turkeys are common as are Red-tailed, Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks. Many species of warbler will have returned by now with Prairie, Palm, Hooded, Black-and-white, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-throated, and Worm-eating all expected.

As it is spring, there should be a fair amount of singing going on and who knows what surprises we may find in this under-birded part of the county. Spring is an excellent season for butterfly-watching as well and we have recorded some interesting records here, including both Tawny and Hackberry Emperors.

Join us for a spring day of birds and butterflies at this unique birding location!