Trip Report




Red-tailed Hawk by Todd Arcos



Early Spring Birding
North Mills River, NC
April 6, 2013








Northern Rough-winged Swallow by Larry Pellegrini


A chilly morning turned to a gorgeous spring afternoon as our group racked up 61 species for our first of many spring day trips. We began the day at Van Wingerden in Mills River, where we had Song, Swamp and Savannah Sparrow around the pond. In the fields we had great scope views of 2 Eastern Meadowlarks, their bright yellow breasts catching the sun's rays. At the Wastewater Treatment Plant we had both Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead, with Tree and Northern Rough-winged Swallows skimming the pond's surface. Over on Hooper Lane we were treated to excellent views of Pectoral Sandpipers and Wilson's Snipe feeding on invertebrates on the bare ground with gobs of Killdeer. A highlight of the day was 3 American Kestrels perched on the irrigation system and a large flock of juvenile White-crowned Sparrows near the Town Hall.Delicious Picnic Lunch by Larry Pellegrini
Heading up North Mills River Road we had Eurasian Collared-Dove, a singing Brown Thrasher and an animated Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, recently returned from the tropics. During a wonderful picnic lunch we had great looks at a Hairy and Downy Woodpecker next to each other in the same tree, giving a great comparison of size and bill length. Right after lunch we heard the song of a Louisiana Waterthrush ringing out from the rhododendron, and the group got fleeting glances as it flew back and forth over our heads.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher by Alan Lenk

As the day progressed and the weather got warmer the birds quieted down substantially, but we continued to see a nice variety. For one of our last stops we scoped out Lake Julian, and though it was crowded with people we managed to find 2 Common Loons and 6 Horned Grebes (most of which were in breeding plumage), as well as a few Double-crested Cormorants and a large flock of Ring-billed Gull.

What a beautiful, bird-filled spring day it was here in the North Carolina Mountains!

Aaron Steed



Birds seen or heard on Day Trip Venture
Early Spring Birding
April 6, 2013





Canada Goose
Lesser Scaup (11)
Bufflehead (2)
Wild Turkey (1)
Common Loon (2)
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe (6)
Double-crested Cormorant (2)
Turkey Vulture (5)
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel (3)
American Coot (35+)
Killdeer (60+)
Pectoral Sandpiper (6)
Wilson's Snipe (20+)
Ring-billed Gull (30+)
Rock Pigeon (2)

Eurasian Collared-Dove (4)
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker (1)
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (1)
Pileated Woodpecker (heard only)
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo (3)
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (at Mills River Wastewater Treatment Plant)
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1)

Eastern Bluebird


American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Pine Warbler (heard while driving through Bent Creek)
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow (heard only - Mills River WWTP)
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch

House Sparrow