Trip Report


Birding the Balsams

June 15, 2016


Chestnut-sided Warbler (m)



Our small group met at the Folk Art Center first thing in the morning for our annual late spring ‘Birding the Balsams’ day trip. The forecast called for a clear, warm day - perfect conditions for birding the higher elevations. We did manage to hear Brown-headed and White-breasted Nuthatches and Eastern Bluebird at the Folk Art Center before heading south toward the Balsam mountains. We made a few stops at several overlooks on the way, picking up the expected Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Hooded Warbler and Wood Thrush (heard).


The day was warming quickly, so without delay we headed up to the picnic area at Mt. Pisgah. The songs of Veery and Chestnut-sided Warbler greeted us as we stepped from the car, and we eventually got looks at both. An obliging male Black-throated Blue Warbler gave us great views and as expected, Indigo Buntings were abundant. Continuing south, we stopped at Graveyard Fields (before the lot got too crowded) and had incredible, up close views of Canada Warbler singing from the tops of in-bloom rhododendron. Gray Catbirds were plentiful and we enjoyed watching Common Yellowthroats displaying in flight, a behavior reminiscent of Yellow-breasted Chats. At Black Balsam, we found both Least and Alder Flycatchers and studied the differences in their songs. Devil’s Courthouse yielded great looks at Peregrine Falcon and the wonderful sounds of Hermit Thrush as well as the jumbled phrases of Winter Wren.


The highest elevations were in the clouds and even on this warm day, the breeze made it almost chilly. After finding a Blackburnian Warbler in the fog, we descended a bit and had our delicious picnic lunch. By this time it was quite warm and the bird activity had subsided for the afternoon, so we made a few more stops on our way back to Asheville before calling it a day.


Aaron Steed



Birds seen or heard on our Venture to

Birding the Balsams

June 15, 2016


Species encountered (48)


Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker (heard)
Downy Woodpecker (heard)
Hairy Woodpecker
Peregrine Falcon
Alder Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
(heard at Folk Art Center)
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren (heard)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (heard)
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush (heard)
Wood Thrush (heard)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing

Ovenbird (heard)

Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler (heard)
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco
Scarlet Tanager (heard)
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting

American Goldfinch