Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa is characterized mostly by agricultural fields and riparian woodland along the Swannanoa River, and the excellent network of public trails accessible from adjacent Charles D. Owen Park offers great birding opportunities throughout much of the year. Many of the species we can expect at this time of year are year-round residents in this predominately open country, such as Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, and Red-tailed Hawk. This time of year is also great for finding a good mix of overwintering species such as White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp and Savannah Sparrows, while transient Vesper and Lincoln’s Sparrows might still be around. November is past the peak fall migration of songbirds but other late migrants could still be passing through, and we may find Orange-crowned, Cape May, Palm, or even a straggling Nashville Warbler. The ponds at Owen Park are always worth a check and could hold any number of ducks that have dropped in to join the Pied-billed Grebes. Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead are just a few possibilities.
To add to the excitement, Warren Wilson’s fields tend to be a magnet for notable local rarities. In just the last few years goodies such as Henslow’s, Lark, and American Tree Sparrows, plus Baird’s Sandpiper, and even Sage Thrasher and Bell’s Vireo have turned up. There’s no telling what else we may bump into – join us and find out!