A relaxed day of birding from roadsides, gravel roads and overlooks with a minimal amount of walking. Weather at the higher elevations can be unpredictable – rain gear and a light jacket are recommended.
The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia into North Carolina, skirts the southern end of the Black Mountains, then weaves through the Craggies, the Pisgahs and the Balsams before ending in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Today we will explore some of the best birding spots in Transylvania County with Michael, one of the local bird experts. Starting in the lower elevations during the cool morning hours, we will look for open-country species, such as Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow; wetland birds, such as Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron and maybe Hooded Merganser, before moving higher in elevation for birds typical of the higher elevations. These will include Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Winter Wren, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. As the hopefully cooler airs breezes through the peaks, we will listen Canada Warblers sing their chattering song from the dense blackberry tangles, Golden-crowned Kinglets lisping from the tall spruces and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks singing their rich songs from high elevation deciduous woodlands.
The itinerary for the day will depend of the weather and what birds are being seen in the local area.