Bird Walks in the Asheville Area
There are an excellent number of bird walks throughout western North Carolina at very good birding locations. There is no charge for some of these walks, and visitors are always welcome. Bring good walking shoes, binoculars and rain gear. All of the walks are led by knowledgeable volunteers, who are familiar with both the birds and the local area.
Chimney Rock Park, near the towns of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure is a popular destination for both birders and tourists, and has several species typically associated with colder forests. During the summer months, warblers are the big attraction with the Black-throated Green Warbler being the most common and obvious species. Within the cove-forest and associated oak-hickory woodland, there are also many Hooded, Black-and-white, and Worm-eating Warblers. Swainson's Warblers are fairly common in the dense rhododendron thickets, while a pair of Peregrine Falcons is usually present in Hickory Nut Gorge and has nested within the park. Directions to Chimney Rock Park are on their website: www.chimneyrockpark.comYou can also download a current birdlist.
Jackson Park in nearby Hendersonville is arguably one of the finest migration spots in the Carolinas, with a wide range of habitats being represented in the park's 317 acres. Here on a late September morning it may be possible to find over 70 bird species as they pass through the park on their way south. Spring migration is slower, but can include such local rarities as Connecticut and Mourning Warblers. Other birds of note that have been seen in Jackson Park over the years have included Olive-sided Flycatcher, Baird's Sandpiper, Barn Owl and Philadelphia Vireo.
Jackson Park bird walks are very popular and are held throughout the year. They meet in front of the Henderson County Parks and Administration building in Jackson Park and are held on the second Saturday of every month. Times are from 9 AM - 11 AM from October to May and from 8 AM - 10 AM from June to September.
Directions: Jackson Park is located near downtown Hendersonville and is easy to access off I-26.
From I-26 Eastbound: Take U.S. 64 West exit (Exit # 18 B ) towards downtown Hendersonville . Continue through the traffic light at end of exit ramp onto 4 Seasons Boulevard (U.S. 64) for 1.6 miles (passing 4 more traffic lights). After a wetland area on the left, turn LEFT at the 5th traffic light (Harris Street). Go 0.2 mile to STOP sign at end of street. Turn LEFT onto E. 4th Avenue, enter park and follow road to Administration Building (red-brick house on left) and parking.
The equally popular Beaver Lake bird walks are held throughout the year. They meet at the gazebo at the sanctuary on Merrimon Avenue in north Asheville and are held on the first Saturday of every month. Times are from 9 AM - 11 AM from October to May and from 8 AM - 10 AM from June to September.
Directions to Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary (The Sanctuary is open from dawn until 30 minutes after sunset):
From downtown Asheville, follow Merrimon Avenue (US 25) north for about two miles. After you see an Ingle's supermarket on your right, begin watching for the Sanctuary on your left. After you pass the new North Asheville Public Library, you will see stone pillars at a pair of driveways leading to the Sanctuary parking lot.
From US 19/23 north of Asheville: Exit at the Merrimon Avenue exit. Follow Merrimon Avenue until you see Beaver Lake on your right. Continue past the lake to the Sanctuary parking lot
All these birding sites, and many more, are included in the new North Carolina Birding Trail Guide to the Mountains. This book costs around $19 and is available at the store