Trip Report


Early Spring Birding
Mills River, NC
March 30, 2016


Black-throated Green Warbler by Simon Thompson


     We had a great group of 10 folks on our North Mills River tour.  We were in search of some early spring migrants moving through our area and we were not let down.  We started the day driving to the top of Wash Creek Road in Pisgah National Forest.   The parking lot at the top provided us with Pine Siskins, a very cooperative Hermit Thrush, and a Hairy Woodpecker.  As we walked a little further down the road we were treated to our first spring migrant, the Blue-headed Vireo. It would not be our last!  While stopped to listen to a singing Pine Warbler, a Black-throated Green Warbler showed off fresh plumage to the crowd.  The Pine Warbler was one of the most brilliant that we had seen. 

   Leaving Wash Creek Road and driving back down the road our cars were buzzed by a small flock of Wild Turkeys.  The campground at the entrance to the national forest produced good looks at Chipping Sparrows and an Eastern Phoebe.  After quite a bit of walking already in the morning we drove to Mills River Park to have lunch.  Homemade pickles, local apples, local hummus, some local cheese and breads were all tasty parts of our ‘Blue Ridge Bites’ lunch.

   After lunch we walked the loop at Mills River Park and had great views of Eastern Meadowlark and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  At the Mills River Water Treatment Plant we found Ruddy Duck and Ring-necked Duck on the water.  A lone Barn Swallow and Osprey flew over as we were observing the ducks.  The tour ended here for most participants, but some of us did do a little ‘extra credit’ birding right afterwards.

   Five of us drove to the Park at Flat Rock and enjoyed a continuing Virginia Rail that had been sighted earlier.  While looking at the rail a Sora walked right in front and gave us a brief look!  We also had great looks at Pileated Woodpecker and Swamp Sparrows, an excellent end to a great day of birding!


Simon Thompson

Birds seen or heard on our

Early Spring Birding
Mills River, NC
March 30, 2016

Species encountered (49)



Canada Goose
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Duck
Wild Turkey
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Virginia Rail
Red-shouldered Hawk
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling
Pine Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Eastern Meadowlark
House Finch
Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch