Chimney Rock State Park
May 10, 2015
A gorgeous Sunday morning began on the banks of Lake Lure at Marcy Park. Yellow Warblers and Indigo Buntings sang from seemingly every high perch available. A male Orchard Oriole emerged from the center of a Sugar Maple providing us with excellent photo opportunities. Some other early birds spotted included Brown-headed Nuthatch, Blue Grosbeak, and Summer Tanager. We stayed in the park until late morning because the activity was so high. On our way back towards the cars we saw two female Wood Ducks with ducklings near the bank we were standing on. We also had a huge Great Blue Heron fly overhead.
We drove up the road a few miles to Chimney Rock State Park, which is in the Hickory Nut Gorge and known for its spectacular views of Lake Lure as well as Hickory Nut Falls. The birds are not too shabby either. We walked up a short loop trail and found ourselves suurounded by bird song. We had some incredible views of the hard-to-see Swainson’s Warbler. We also saw Worm-eating, Black-and-White, Hooded, and Black-throated Green Warblers. As we were returning to our cars to drive higher into the park we witnessed an unusual event. Loud screeching erupted from the canopy and we watched at least 4 Red-shouldered Hawks flying closely together fly overhead. Two of them broke apart and one of those two plunged into the understory. It appeared the bird had been wounded badly. We attempted to investigate but found nothing.
At the top of the park we broke out our picnic gear and had a great lunch with plenty of local ingredients. After lunch our group walked over to the waterfall. At this point it was hot and lots of people were out so bird activity was low. We did get a great view of a Scarlet Tanager. The falls were impressive and a great way to cap off a wonderful day of bird watching.