Birding the Balsams

Brevard, NC, USA

VB
136 reviews
Jul 20, 2021
Group size: 4 - 10
Birding the Balsams
Brevard, NC, USA

136 reviews

Jul 20, 2021
Group size: 4 - 10

About this trip

  

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. We will head south and visit various locations in the Blue Ridge, looking for some of the area’s most exciting birds such as many species of warblers, vireos and several hard-to-identify Empidonax flycatchers. We will probably head as far as Heintooga Overlook, one of the most reliable areas for Red Crossbills in the last few years. Least Flycatchers can be common near the Masonic Monument where their “che-bek” calls can be a clue to their whereabouts. At the higher elevations the mountains are cloaked with spruce-fir and northern hardwood forests mixed with heath balds of Catawba rhododendron and mountain laurel. 


Typical breeding birds of the higher elevations include Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Winter Wren, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Hermit Thrush and Red Crossbill can be found as well. The Appalachian race of the hardy Northern Flying Squirrel, closely related to the more familiar Southern Flying Squirrel of lower elevation broad-leaved woodlands, also occurs at this elevation. 

Leader: Kevin Burke

What’s included

  • 1 birding guide
  • lunch
  • transportation

Your Organizer


VB
Ventures Birding Tours
136 reviews
Small travel company based in Asheville, NC, specializing in birding & nature tours both locally & worldwide.

Reviews

I had a great time. Michael Plauche is an excellent birder and guide, and is very pleasant to spend time with. Communication with him and with Ventures Birding was excellent.
By Marcia M for Private Half Day Tours (2021) on 16 Oct, 2021
Enjoyed two outings with Aaron Steed at Ridge Junction this Fall - one in early September and one in late September to catch different migrants coming through. Both were spectacular. It is really cool to see mass quantities of warblers and hummingbirds flying over the ridge, many graciously stopping for the viewing pleasure of our groups. Aaron has a fabulous ear for the different types of birds, and can pick one special species out of a large flock. They were exciting and beautiful mornings as the sun came up over the ridge. Was so thankful for Aaron’s help in spotting and identifying a large variety of birds.
By Kathleen W for Spectacular Fall Migration 4 on 11 Oct, 2021
Kevin goes above and beyond to make sure everyones needs are met. He is flexible and low keyed. He does advances for the each trip. We tried many local (non-chain) restaurants and the food was superb. Maneuvering between wildfires and unexpected covid closures there was no disappointments. Could not have asked for a better group of fellow passengers. There was plenty of room within the vehicle which is important especially when you are dealing with your various pieces of equipment. Thank You again for a great trip. CSSR
By Christine S for Washington - Pacific Northwest Birding 2021 on 09 Oct, 2021
This trip included 6+ days of birding from morning to late afternoon visiting many birding hotspots in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. The pace was comfortable and the terrain very manageable, even Hawk Mountain. Simon Thompson, owner and guide, has experience world-wide, can spot and hear the most obscure bird, can ID birds by sight and/or sound and makes sure everyone is "on the bird" even when it is not a "lifer"! He is quick with the scope and binocular. In addition, he methodically submits a checklist for each birding area - 25 in all for this trip! The van was very comfortable and with large windows. Chris Jaquette was an excellent driver and also a master at providing delicious picnic lunches. Restaurant dinners were outside in comfortable temperatures. Cuisine each night was delicious and varied. We can hardly wait for our next trip with Ventures!
By Julia J for Hawk Mountain and Cape May on 08 Oct, 2021
Lots of warblers, Kevin knew every one!
By barbara r for Fall Warbler Workshop 2 on 05 Oct, 2021
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