Birding the Balsams

Brevard, NC, USA

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

103 reviews

Jul 20 - 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
103 reviews
Small travel company based in Asheville, NC, specializing in birding & nature tours both locally & worldwide.

Reviews

Despite threatening weather, we warbler lovers all decided to take the risk and proceed. We got in about two hours of biding, and had great views of our primary target, the golden winged warbler (one even posed on a bare snag for us!). Beside the usual suspects, there were several other sightings, including Orchard Orioles, red eyed and blue headed vireos, barn swallows, my first chimney swifts of the year, rose breasted grosbeaks, and an American redstart. We also heard hooded, black and white, and yellow warblers, yellow breasted chat and meadowlarks. We traveled on up Max Patch Road, but were done in by the steady stream of DOT gravel-filled dump trucks and a road grader disturbing the peace and eventually the arrival of heavy rain. However, our gung-ho crowd still enjoyed ourselves. The Max Patch Road area was so beautiful, with all the blooming spring flowers and rushing streams, it was great to just get out. Kevin Burke, our expert leader, also offered us another local day trip as recompense, and I chose the Mt. Mitchell trip with Simon Thompson in June, one of my very favorite trips. You can’t do better than bird with Ventures Birding!
By Toni M for Spring Warbler Workshop, Max Patch 21 on 13 May, 2021
Very nice trip, got 9 lifers. Aaron went out of his way to meet the needs of all participants. I was able to ride down and return with Aaron, in addition to the daily trips with him. Outstanding service. Alan
By Alan's Email L for Southeastern NC Hotspots - Spring on 05 May, 2021
This Green River Game Lands 2 offered a variety of habitats, elevations and therefore wonderful opportunities to see a variety of birds. Walks were short, yet very rewarding to hear and see birds in their natural settings. Highly recommend!
By Claudia A for Green River Game Lands 2 on 04 May, 2021
Great trip. Kevin Knows his stuff.
By Howard B for Henderson County, NC - County Birding on 03 May, 2021
We had a great time! Kevin knows his birds and always made sure that we saw them. His enthusiasm, knowledge and patience will bring us back!!
By Leigh F for Henderson County, NC - County Birding on 03 May, 2021
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