Rankin Bottoms is one of the best places within a 2-hr drive of Asheville for finding shorebirds. A walk along the lakeshore and other viewing spots may be muddy, so bring appropriate footwear! Don’t forget binoculars and a scope (if you have one), and as it is late summer, sun protection and a refillable water bottle will be essential.
Rankin Bottoms is a Wildlife Management Area on the shores of Douglas Lake at the confluence of the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers near Newport, TN. When the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) performs its annual draw down of the lake in late summer, the exposed mudflats attract a variety of migrating shorebirds and waders. Some days during late summer can be absolutely spectacular here! Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral and Least Sandpipers and Black-crowned Night-Heron are just a few of the more common birds we should see. Buff-breasted Sandpipers, although uncommon, are seen here every year along with Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, and more. Rarities and surprises occur here as well – we have had both American Avocet and Red Phalarope here on past tours!
Prothonotary Warblers breed here and there may still be a few around. We’ll also keep our eyes peeled for any other early songbird migrants, as well as any gulls or terns (Black, Forster’s and Caspian are possible).
Join us for this unique and educational Venture at one of the best shorebirding spots in our area.