Trip Report


Little Yellow Mountain Natural Area
Avery County, NC
May 14, 2016

Golden-winged Warbler by Cathy Adair



We had a wonderful group of 11 folks turn out for a birdy day at the Little Yellow Mountain Natural Area. The Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy (SAHC) manages this preserve and we were fortunate to have the president of the board of trustees of SAHC, Nancy Edgerton, join us for the day. John Jones, a recent graduate with a masters in biology from Appalachian State University (ASU) joined us as well.  John studied Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers interactions at ASU. He brought a mist net along in hopes of catching a Golden-winged Warbler. 


Our focus species was the Golden-winged Warbler and we almost immediately heard one singing when we got out of the car.  As we tried to locate the bird we were distracted by an abundance of Chestnut-sided Warblers.  Alder Flycatchers also made their presence known with their “free beer” song.  While we searched among the blackberries and early successional habitat John set up a mist-net and very quickly caught a Golden-winged Warbler.  Folks had a brief moment to see this gorgeous bird up close and take photographs.  The bird was safely released and within minutes was singing on a Hawthorne nearby allowing for more great photo opportunities.


We had a brief snack and water break mid-morning before we walked into a mature beech/maple/birch forest to see what was around.  The enchanting song of the Veery rang from every direction as we ambled through the woods.  We also had great looks at a pair of Orchard Orioles, a Scarlet Tanager, Ovenbirds, and Canada, Black-throated Blue, and Black-throated Green Warblers.  We returned to the “Bird Cabin” and spread out a delicious picnic lunch on the porch.  Nancy gave an engaging talk on SAHC and the history of the preserve as we munched on sandwiches and snacks.


After lunch we went to another SAHC property a few miles away.  As we walked into a field we were stunned to see a leucistic Song Sparrow flying among the blackberries!  We spent most of our time chasing the rare bird around but we also saw another Golden-wing, an Indigo Bunting, many Field Sparrows, and a lifer Carolina Chickadee for one our clients.  It was an excellent way to end a great day of birding in Avery County.


Clifton Avery

Birds seen or heard on our Venture to

Little Yellow Mountain Natural Area
Avery County, NC
May 14, 2016

Species encountered (49)


Wild Turkey

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Alder Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Red-eyed Vireo


Blue Jay

American Crow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Barn Swallow

Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch


American Robin

Gray Catbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing


Golden-winged Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart


Northern Parula

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Canada Warbler

Field Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Song Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Common Grackle

Orchard Oriole

American Goldfinch