It was foggy around Asheville on our way to Ridgecrest and the Point Lookout Trail, but thankfully this soon burned off leaving clear blue skies and trees starting to slowly turn to autumnal colors. The Giant Ragweeds along the start of the trail were all fruiting and very attractive to the migrant Rose-breasted Grosbeaks – several were feeding relatively close to us and more interested in food than a few stray birders enjoying their presence. It’s an easy walk down the old road and usually we run into small flocks of chickadees and titmice along the way, but today they were practically absent, as were the attendant flocks of vireos and warblers. It was a surprisingly quiet morning as we walked the gentle grade of the trail, our ears and eyes alert for anything calling or moving in the fall woodlands. A scattering of warblers were moving through, but no big flocks like we often have down this trail. Most were Tennessee or Bay-breasted Warblers, with smaller numbers of Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Blues, but by the end of the day we had only recorded 6 species. A Common Raven flew over uttering its distinctive harsh call and a Red-breasted Nuthatch was calling high in the tall pines – the first of many we were going to see this winter as they irrupted south.
Regardless of the somewhat lack of birds today, it’s always a nice walk down this easy trail and I certainly plan to do it again.