Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk at Big Bald, by Alan Lenk Appalachian Trail on Big Bald, by Alan Lenk Bald-Eagles @ Big Bald, by Alan Lenk Huddled around the Banding Table at Big Bald, by Aaron Steed Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk at Big Bald Banding Station, by Alan Lenk Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Big Bald Banding Station by Alan Lenk
  • Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk at Big Bald, by Alan Lenk
  • Appalachian Trail on Big Bald, by Alan Lenk
  • Bald-Eagles @ Big Bald, by Alan Lenk
  • Huddled around the Banding Table at Big Bald, by Aaron Steed
  • Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk at Big Bald Banding Station, by Alan Lenk
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Big Bald Banding Station by Alan Lenk

Trip Report

 

"Warblers, Raptors & Saw-whet Owls,"
Big Bald Banding Station, Mars Hill, NC

October  14, 2015

Leader: Aaron Steed

 

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Big Bald Banding Station by Alan Lenk

After our September trip to Big Bald Banding Station got rained out, we were hoping for better weather and we were not disappointed! The morning turned out to be beautiful and when we arrived at Big Bald we found a cloudless, sunny sky. It was a little on the breezy side, and as such the banders only opened the nets down in the gap, which were far more sheltered from the wind than the nets on top of Little Bald.

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk at Big Bald Banding Station, by Alan Lenk

 

When we got to the table we found the banders had recently captured a Swainson’s Thrush and a Dark-eyed Junco – getting to watch the whole banding process is always a treat! While checking nets and hanging around the table we inevitably encountered other species, including Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Palm Warbler, a hunting Northern Harrier cruising low over Big Bald’s northern flanks, and 3 Bald Eagles - first a fly by juvenile, followed a few minutes later by 2 gorgeous adults. Unfortunately, the breeze continued to pick up during the day which hampered songbird activity, although we did end up with a few surprises, including a flyover Red Crossbill and a Swamp Sparrow, found and photographed by one of our group – John Koon. After lunch we went up Little Bald where we spent the rest of the afternoon observing and releasing recently banded Sharp-shinned Hawks. Each age class and sex were represented, and we got great comparative looks between juvenile and adult plumages and the size difference between males and females. Our plans to come back after dinner for Saw-whet Owl banding were dashed by the breeze, so we ended with a delicious dinner in Mars Hill. Though we had a relatively low overall diversity, a trip to Big Bald Banding Station never disappoints!

 

Aaron Steed

 

 

Birds seen or heard on our "Warblers, Raptors & Saw-whet Owls,"
Big Bald Banding Station, Mars Hill, NC October 14, 2015

 

Species seen and/or heard: 21

 

Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Gull sp. (Probably Ring-billed but far too high to tell)
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay

American Crow

 

 

Common Raven

Tufted Titmouse
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Swainson’s Thrush
American Robin
American Pipit
Palm Warbler (western)
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
Swamp Sparrow
Red Crossbill (heard)

American Goldfinch