Trip Report


Ridge Junction Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway
September 16, 2019



The sunrise was blood-orange as we drove into the Ridge Junction Overlook parking lot. The ridges of all the distant mountain ridges were etched with light making for a spectacular vista. Even with no birds, it’s a pleasure to just soak up the panorama.


Much like yesterday the pre-dawn flight was rather slow with the action picking up once the sun started hitting the nearby treetops. The wind had also shifted direction and was blowing strongly forcing most of the birds to stick to the trees and move uphill rather than fly directly across the gap. We spent the next 2 hours watching the birds flying across the access road to Mt Mitchell with hundreds of warblers zipping across in front of us. At first it was tough as not many birds actually sat still for more than a split second, but eventually we had great views of Cape May, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green Warblers and a beautiful Yellow-billed Cuckoo. After a brief break for coffee and some additional information from another birder, we decided to head down to Balsam Gap (Walker Overlook) where the next couple of hours were spent watching some spectacular migration through the woods. Hundreds of Swainson’s Thrushes, Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were streaming over our heads, along with many, many warblers. Some additional icing on the cake were several Red Crossbills that were heard and eventually seen atop some spruce trees.


It was a beautiful day weather-wise and an exceptional insight into fall migration in the Carolina Mountains. Thanks to Ventures guide Michael Plauché for his great help and expertise.


Good Birding!

Simon Thompson  


Black-throated Blue Warbler - BRP, NCSunrise at Ridge Junction - BRP, NC


Eastern Wood-Pewee - BRP, NCScarlet Tanager (fall) - BRP, NC


Group at Ridge Junction - BRP, NCView from Ridge Junction - BRP, NC


Ridge Junction Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway September 16, 2019


Species encountered: 44 species



Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee


Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Cedar Waxwing
Red Crossbill
American Goldfinch
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
Song Sparrow
Eastern Towhee

Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Scarlet Tanager

Rose-breasted Grosbeak