to the Blue Ridge - South
Saturday, April 20, 2013
A chilly morning started out unexpectedly when a vocal flock of Red Crossbills flew over the Folk Art Center where the group was gathered about 7:30. From there, we headed south along the parkway where low elevation stops produced a variety of warblers such as Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, and Hooded Warblers. A couple bright male Indigo Buntings at one stop provided a stark contrast to the two male Hooded Warblers that were foraging only a few feet away! Several Ovenbirds teased us with their chanting song, but remained elusive. A surprise early on was a Common Loon that was spotted flying high over the parkway, heading north!
Birdlife thinned out as we headed farther South along the parkway and rose in elevation, and the wind became quite blustery. Higher elevation stops seldom contained more than Blue-headed Vireos and Black-throated Green and Black-and-white Warblers. A restroom stop at the Pisgah Inn however provided an unexpected surprise in the form of a Prairie Warbler, a species not usually seen at high elevations, foraging in the front garden.
After a delicious picnic lunch at Devil's Courthouse, which we ate in the vehicles to avoid getting blown away by the wind, afternoon birding was highlighted by incredible eye level views of a couple of Broad-winged Hawks that had apparently just came off their roost in the valley below. Thanks to all the participants for helping to make this a productive and enjoyable day of birding!