Spring Birding

Hooded Warbler by Alan Lenk

Sandy Mush Game Land

Alexander, NC

April 20, 2024

Black-billed Cuckoo by Simon Thompson

Register by clicking the ‘book now’ button above, or by contacting the Ventures office. We accept credit cards for an additional fee (2.9% for MC, Visa, Discover; 3.9% for AmEx), but you may also pay by bank transfer, cash, check, or money order. This Venture is limited to 10 participants.

Meeting Place: Cedar Hill Baptist Church, located at 451 Cedar Hill Rd, Alexander, NC 28701. Meet in the gravel parking lot directly across the street. Time: meet at 8:00 AM and end at 2 pm Cost: $60 per person.


A morning spent exploring the woodlands and fields of Sandy Mush Gamelands for a variety of spring migrants. Expect an easy walk along the trails and paths on the game land, although some of the paths may be a little steep and overgrown. Wear long pants and good boots. It could also be a bit muddy if it has rained.

The Sandy Mush Game Lands in the northern part of Buncombe County have only recently begun to be explored for birds and butterflies. The mosaic of habitats here vary from open, managed cut-over areas to cove and riverine forests down along Sandy Mush & Turkey Creeks, and the French Broad River. Over the past few years, we’ve found them to be excellent for Prairie Warbler, Field Sparrow, Indigo Bunting and Yellow-breasted Chat, all of which are abundant. This is also the best spot in the county for Northern Bobwhite, which can often be heard calling from the fields and occasionally we get to see them. Other summer residents we’ll also be looking for include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatchers, Blue-headed, White-eyed & Red-eyed Vireos, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated & Hooded Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Orchard Oriole, and Blue Grosbeak, and many others. Wild Turkeys are common year-round and Red-tailed, Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks plus numerous American Kestrels, all nest here as well.

The woodlands and fields will be full of bird song and who knows what surprises we may find in this under-birded part of the county. Small numbers of Blue-winged Warblers have lingered quite late in the spring here over the past few years suggesting they may have attempted nesting, and Black-billed Cuckoos have been seen passing through at this time of year as well.

Join Aaron for what should be a fantastic day in the productive Sandy Mush Game Lands.