Trip Report


Yellow-throated Warbler by Todd ArcosTrip Report for

Bird Songs Workshop

May 7, 2014


We began our annual bird songs workshop at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary bright and early. We were greeted first thing by all the songs of the most typical suburban birds – Eastern Towhees, singing ‘drink your TEEEA,’ the Cardinals singing ‘cheer cheer, purdy purdy purdy,’ and the Carolina Wrens singing ‘tea kettle.’ Overhead, we heard the twittering of Chimney Swifts as they hunted insects on the wing. A moment’s exploration around the pond yielded a Veery, softly singing its descending, flute-like song as it foraged on the ground. Here, we also had first warbler of the morning – an American Redstart illustrating how variable its songs can be. The House Wrens were back in full force as well, their complicated, rambling songs emanating from several backyards. Near the large box elder, we had great looks at a Green Heron and even got to hear its harsh call. Walking along the boardwalk we discovered several Western Palm Warblers, some of which were singing, which was a treat. It’s always nice to hear these migrants singing songs that we would otherwise never get to hear, as most breed far to the north in Canada.

On the Merrimon side of the lake, we enjoyed lengthy scope views of a Yellow-throated Warbler perched in a white pine, singing its heart out. Farther along, we found a bluebird house occupied by chattering Tree Swallows, their vivid, metallic blue catching the sun’s rays nicely. We didn’t find any orioles, but we heard the whiny calls of Brown-headed Nuthatches from a patch of pines on the other side of the road.


Around late morning, we left the increasingly warm low elevations for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our first stop was at Craven Gap, where the burry song of a Scarlet Tanager teased us from somewhere high in an oak, while the ‘Teacher teacher’ song of a multitude of Ovenbirds rang out all around us. Red-eyed Vireos were plentiful as well, singing ‘here I am, where are you’ incessantly. Just south of Tanbark we found a beautiful male Cerulean Warbler in good light, singing heartily. Here we also had several other gorgeous warblers – Blackburnian, Black-and-white, Hooded and another American Redstart. We also heard Eastern Wood-Pewee and the high pitched, level whistle of a Broad-winged Hawk.


We had our lunch at the Folk Art Center, where we heard more common bird species – White-breasted Nuthatch, American Crow, Eastern Phoebe, Carolina Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse among others. The day grew very hot and quiet so we opted to call it a day right after finishing lunch, but we had a pleasant day and ended up seeing and hearing 59 species.


Aaron Steed


Birds seen or heard on our

Bird Songs Workshop

May 7, 2014


Green Heron
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Wild Turkey
Solitary Sandpiper
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow

Tree Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing (heard)
European Starling

Red-eyed Vireo

Northern Parula


Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch

American Goldfinch