Ventures runs many day trips throughout the Carolinas every year, especially in the western portion of the region. From warblers and woodpeckers in the highest peaks and spruce fir forests around Mt. Mitchell to tanagers and cuckoos in the rich lowland woodlands of the South Carolina Piedmont, we find new and exciting birding destinations throughout our area. Some places are "must visit" spots from year to year but others are new to the birding world. Join us as we explore our own backyard in the Carolinas.




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Stecoah Gap

Graham County, NC

April 25, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed


   The neotropical migrant birds that breed in the southern Appalachian mountains arrive earlier than those going further north. They seem to overfly the Piedmont and the foothills and go straight to their mountain habitat where they set up their breeding territories. By this time in April they should be well established, singing heartily. We can expect many warbler species (including American Redstart, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian, Cerulean & Golden-winged), Blue-headed, Yellow-throated & Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, Indigo Buntings, American Goldfinches, and more.

Blue Ridge Birding

April 27, 2017

Leader: Kevin Burke


   From the mixed hardwood, lower elevation forests, rich cove forest, to the high elevation spruce-fir forests around Mount Mitchell, the Blue Ridge Parkway traverses a variety of elevations and habitats. Spending time in each habitat will yield quite the variety of avian species, and as with most of our spring trips the focus will be on migrant warblers, vireos, tanagers and thrushes that breed along the parkway.

Spring Warbler Workshop Max Patch, Haywood Co., NC

May 3, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed

Trip is Full        

   This being a Spring Warbler Workshop, our focus will be on finding as many different warbler species as possible, listening for differences in each species' song, and marveling at the diversity of colors and patterns on show. We should find 15-20 different species, such as: Ovenbird; Lousiana Waterthrush; Common Yellowthroat; Northern Parula; American Redstart; Golden-winged, Black-and-white, Hooded, Cape May, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Pine, Yellow-rumped, Yellow-throated, & Canada Warblers.

Grandfather Mountain

May 7, 2017

Leader: Clifton Avery


   Spring is a wonderful time to visit Grandfather, as the majority of spring and summer residents will be back on territory and actively singing. There should still be migrants passing through as well with Blackpoll, Cape May, Magnolia, and Bay-breasted Warblers all possible. Don't miss this excellent spring day trip to one of North Carolina's most well-known landmarks!

Hampton Creek Cove & Roan Mountain, TN

May 13, 2017

Leader: Clifton Avery


   Hampton Creek Cove is a 693-acre natural area located in Carter County outside of the town of Roan Mountain near Roan Mountain State Park. The Cove is in the Southern Appalachian Mountains between 3,000 to 4,800 feet elevation and is managed by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC). Hampton Creek forms a prominent feature which bisects the length of the natural area, draining young and mature forests, seeps, and farmland in the cove. The old field/early succession at the lower mountain elevation, maintained by a caretaker and grazing cattle, provides excellent nesting habitat for Golden-winged Warblers.

Spring Big Day

A Thorough Birding Exploration Of WNC
May 14, 2017

Leaders: Kevin Burke
Aaron Steed


   Our day will begin before sunrise with the hope of finding nocturnal species such as Great Horned, Eastern Screech and Northern Saw-whet Owl, as well as Eastern Whip-poor-will. Once the sun comes up, we plan on visiting as many different habitats as possible to maximize our species total. Between cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Green River Gamelands, we will expect a whole host of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers and more. We'll check the broad Mills River Valley for open country species like Eastern Meadowlark, raptors, and any shorebirds that might still be passing through.

Sandy Mush Game Lands, Buncombe Co., NC

May 19, 2017

Leader: TBA


   The Sandy Mush Game Lands in the northern part of Buncombe County have only recently begun to be explored for birds and butterflies. Over the past few years, we've found them to be excellent for Prairie Warbler, Field Sparrow and Yellow-breasted Chat. The habitats here vary from open, managed cut-over areas to cove and riverine forests down along the Sandy Mush Creek. Acadian and probably Willow Flycatchers, as well as Blue-headed Vireos nest at this elevation. Wild Turkeys are common and Red-tailed, Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks all nest here as well.

Bird Songs Workshop 1

"The Basics" Asheville, NC
June 4, 2017

Leader: Emilie Travis


   This is part 1 of a 2-part introductory field course to the world of bird vocalizations. We will learn the difference between songs & calls as well as many helpful tips for learning how to recognize the vocalizations of our most common bird species. Much of our morning will be spent listening and watching at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, identifying each singer in the spring chorus. Birding and pace will be slow & easy.

Birding the Balsams

Asheville, NC

June 14, 2017

Leader: Aaron Steed


   We will head south and visit various locations in the Blue Ridge, looking for some of the area's most exciting birds such as many species of warblers, vireos and several hard-to-identify Empidonax flycatchers. We will probably head as far as Heintooga Overlook, one of the most reliable areas for Red Crossbills in the last few years.
   Typical breeding birds of the higher elevations include Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Winter Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Hermit Thrush and Red Crossbill can be found as well.

Wildflowers & Butterflies 1

Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge & Mt. Mitchell

June 21, 2017

Leader: Simon Thompson


   We'll drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Mitchell, stopping at the Balsam Gap Overlook to hike a short distance out on the Big Butt Trail.
   We should see showy butterflies such as Eastern Tiger and Pipevine Swallowtails.
   Butterflies tend to "hilltop" later in the day and we will look for Red Admiral, Great Spangled Fritillary and Green Comma (although we may be a little early for this rare species) among many others.