Trip Report


Prairie Warbler by Todd Arcos

Spring Warbler Workshop
Trip Report- April 23, 2014


The morning began chilly and windy as the group met at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary for our annual Spring Warbler Workshop. We hopped on the boardwalk and within the first few minutes we found our first warbler of the day – a rather ratty-looking Yellow-rumped who was molting its head feathers and preparing to head north for the summer. One of the surprises of the day was a beautiful Prairie Warbler, softly singing mere feet from the boardwalk and inquisitively surveying the group. Most of us got wonderful views and it wasn’t long after when we heard the high-pitched song of our 3rd warbler - an American Redstart. While a few of us managed to get good looks, the bird mostly stayed in a tangle of vines, only revealing flashes of the lovely black and orange coloration characteristic of the species. Warblers certainly were not the only birds we encountered as the sanctuary held all the common species typical of suburban parks – from Eastern Bluebirds to Northern Cardinals and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, as well as those found around swamps and lakes – Mallard, Red-winged Blackbird, Green Heron and Spotted Sandpiper.
We then headed up to Craven Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The elevation here is about 3,200 ft. and holds an entirely different set of breeding warblers. The loud, ringing songs of Ovenbirds was one of the first things we noticed when we hopped on the Mountains-to-Sea trail. We eventually found one perched in a bare oak and enjoyed watching him sing through the scope. Hooded Warblers also abound here and we all got great looks at a beautiful male as he foraged on the thicketed slopes.  From high overhead came the almost non-stop weesa weesa – the squeaky, high-pitched song of the Black-and-white Warbler. We delighted at watching a pair creep nuthatch-like up the great trunks of many hardwood species. On the walk back to the parking lot a Worm-eating Warbler landed right next to the trail, clearly exhibiting why it is referred to as a ‘dead-lead specialist.’
After our delicious picnic lunch we continued south along the Parkway to Bent Creek Gap for our last warbler of the day. Here a male Black-throated Green Warbler sat still and sang long enough for us to obtain yet more scope views. The entire Bent Creek area was loaded with Black-throated Greens, and we heard the song almost constantly as we descended back into Asheville through the experimental forest.
We finished up with 52 total species and 8 warblers for what turned into a beautiful and warm spring day.


Aaron Steed

Birds Seen or Heard on our
Spring Warbler Workshop
April 23, 2014

Green Heron
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Wild Turkey
Spotted Sandpiper
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker (heard)
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Barn Swallow

Tree Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow (heard)
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren (heard)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gratcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing (heard)
European Starling

Blue-headed Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo (heard)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird

American Goldfinch