Venture to Stecoah Gap,
Graham County, NC
Friday, April 26, 2013
Unlike the past two years (fog one year and heavy leaf cover the next), this has been a
very strange spring. Most of the wildflowers are 2 weeks behind and the birds are also
slow in arriving. At least the lack of leaf cover made for easy bird viewing!
We all arrived at Stecoah Gap around 8 AM under glorious blue skies, but quite cool
for this time of the year. It really did not matter as the birds were all singing around us
as we set out down the trail. Several male American Redstarts were singing around the
picnic tables and 1 male even sat on a wire over the road while we were having lunch.The lack of leaves on the trees made for easy viewing and Blackburnian Warblers had
obviously just returned from South America as the males were singing everywhere
and performing their aerial battles to establish their territories. Both Black-throated
Green and Black-throated Blue Warblers were common all along the trail and Hooded
Warblers were singing their rhythmic songs from the barely vegetated slopes.
There were surprisingly few Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and it took us a little time to get good views of either species. It was only on the way back for lunch when we looked up to see a male Scarlet Tanager sitting in full view over the trail. Thanks to Alan Lenk for the amazing photograph that he quickly took before the bird flew off.
Several of us finished the day at Snowbird Lodge where the feeders were over-run with Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches. Several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds buzzed around the front porch, but alas, there were no Red Crossbills in evidence; maybe next time.