Trip Report

Western NC Rarity Round-up

March 10, 2021

Guide: Simon Thompson

We started our day at the Martin Candler section of the Sandy Mush Gamelands, where much of the ground was still covered by an overnight frost. The sky was an intense blue and we walked the trails hoping to hear Northern Bobwhite. Alas they were quiet, but the morning was brightened by a local guy running his Beagles. The pack of dogs were so cute as they ran through the brush looking for rabbits, all with their collars and tracking aerials. A female American Kestrel was sitting atop a nest box and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks were seen mating atop a distant tree- all signs of spring! A walk at Bear Creek, another nearby portion of the Sandy Mush Gamelands, was particularly quiet with very few birds, so we moved on to the MSD along the French Broad River. The Purple Martins had not arrived yet and the colony was quiet except for a few European Starlings and a pair of Wood Duck on the French Broad River. Hopefully the Martins will be back soon. Our next stop was near UNCA where a female Rufous Hummingbird was super cooperative and soon appeared for a few quick photos. Thanks to David for keeping her safe and fed all winter. Another stop at UNCA produced a beautiful Great Horned Owl and her well-grown chick. We finished the day with a picnic down at Lake Julian where a lot of folks were enjoying the warm day and the park’s facilities. We checked the lake, but the quantity of boats on the lake had obviously pushed birds away for the afternoon. We finished the day with some nice birds, but the beautiful weather had probably forced many wintering species farher north.

Birds Seen or Heard on our Rarity Round-up Day Trip – March 10, 2021

Species Encountered: 46 species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Wild Turkey
Mourning Dove
Rufous Hummingbird
American Coot
Double-crested Cormorant
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher

    Red-bellied Woodpecker
    Downy Woodpecker
    Hairy Woodpecker
    Pileated Woodpecker
    American Kestrel
    Eastern Phoebe
    Blue Jay
    American Crow           
    Fish Crow
    Carolina Chickadee
    Tufted Titmouse
    Golden-crowned Kinglet
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet
    Red-breasted Nuthatch
    White-breasted Nuthatch House Wren (Heard)

    Carolina Wren
    European Starling
    Brown Thrasher
    Northern Mockingbird
    Eastern Bluebird
    American Robin
    Field Sparrow
    Dark-eyed Junco
    Song Sparrow
    Eastern Towhee
    Eastern meadowlark
    Common Grackle
    Pine Warbler
    Northern Cardinal