Trip Report

Pond Mountain Game Land
June 6, 2020
Guide: Clifton Avery

Pond Mountain Game Land is located in the northwest corner of North Carolina where Virginia and Tennessee all meet. It is quite remote, so we left Asheville very early to get up there for the good birding hours. We started off birding the lower elevations of the game land and quickly found some of the more common summer residents including Indigo Bunting, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and American Goldfinch. Clouds hung low over the ridge but stayed just high enough to not affect visibility. Bird song stayed steady and as we climbed higher up the ridge the surrounding landscape began to unfold. Green mountains in every direction! On top of the ridge Song Sparrows dominated the soundscape. Common Yellowthroats and Field Sparrows were also abundant. We tried to call in a Black-billed Cuckoo but had no luck. We then turned our attention to birding the highest elevations of Pond Mountain where the Vesper Sparrows breed. We were striking out until we reached the summit of Pond Mountain and finally were rewarded with a few Vespers perching in the open and close by. We even managed to hear one sing between all of the noise of the Song Sparrows! We then took a lunch break and enjoyed views looking south into the High Country of western NC. After lunch we drove to a different part of the game land that is lower in elevation and mature northern hardwood forest. Lots of forest birds were singing including Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ovenbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager and Hermit Thrush. After being very patient and quiet we got fleeting but great views of a Canada Warbler. It was a great way to end a lovely day up in Ashe County, NC

Pond Mountain Game Land
June 6, 2020 

Species encountered: 50 species

Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Broad-winged Hawk
Turkey Vulture
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Heard)

White-breasted Nuthatch

    Barn Swallow
    European Starling
    Gray Catbird
    Brown Thrasher
    House Wren
    Hermit Thrush (Heard)
    Wood Thrush
    American Robin
    Cedar Waxwing
    American Goldfinch
    Chipping Sparrow
    Field Sparrow
    Dark-eyed Junco
    Vesper Sparrow
    Song Sparrow
    Eastern Towhee

    Red-winged Blackbird
    Brown-headed Cowbird
    Black-and-white Warbler
    Common Yellowthroat
    Hooded Warbler (Heard)
    Northern Parula (Heard)
    American Redstart (Heard)
    Chestnut-sided Warbler
    Black-throated Blue Warbler
    Black-throated Green Warbler
    Canada Warbler
    Scarlet Tanager
    Northern Cardinal
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak
    Indigo Bunting