Looking for the blue-eyed vireo (and other birding adventures at Chimney Rock)

An early spring is causing wintering birds in the Southern U.S., including Blue-headed Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, to migrate north ahead of their normal migration schedule, says local expert Simon Thompson. Birds that typically migrate to Western North Carolina from the Tropics in the spring, however, will most likely be on time.

To learn more about spring migration and birding, bird watchers of all levels are invited to join world-traveled ornithologist Simon Thompson for the “Simon Says” Guided Bird Walk: Early Bird Arrivals 8:30-11:30am on Sunday, April 1 at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. The cost for each three-hour bird walk is $23/adult (16 and older) and $6/Annual Passholder and includes Park admission for the day. Registration is required three days in advance; register online at chimneyrockpark.com/events or call (828) 625-9611.

“Many of our resident birds, such as Carolina wrens, chickadees and Eastern bluebirds, are starting to search for places to nest now,” said Simon Thompson, Ornithologist for Chimney Rock. “On our first bird walk, we can expect to see some black-and-white warblers, black-throated green warblers and blue-headed vireos. And if we’re lucky, we might see large flocks of broad-winged hawks migrating north.”

‘Simon Says’ Guided Bird Walk: Early Bird Arrivals
Sunday, April 1, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Many of the Park’s breeding birds are singing and wildflowers are starting to bloom now. Join Simon Thompson in seeking out Black-and-white Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers and Blue-headed Vireos along the Hickory Nut Falls trail, as well as many of our resident birds that are looking for places to nest. Now is the perfect time to learn bird songs that will help you identify these feathered friends.

Chimney Rock is an official site on the NC Birding Trail and hosts the region’s premier fall migration event, Flock to the Rock. Learn more about birding at Chimney Rock and download the complete Guide to Birding at Chimney Rock online at http://chimneyrockpark.com/park/nature/northcarolinabirds.php.

Next ‘Simon Says’ Guided Bird Walk: Breeding Birds
Sunday, June 3, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
It’s a time of frenzied activity for many resident birds. World-traveled expert Simon Thompson will identify several of our local woodpeckers including Downy, Hairy and Pileated. Some are already nesting and may be feeding their young. Meanwhile, songs of Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos can be heard throughout the Park. You might spot one of their camouflaged hanging nests along our trails!

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. In 2012, the Park is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the release of The Last of the Mohicans, which was filmed in Chimney Rock. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.

About Simon Thompson
World-traveled birding expert Simon Thompson has been leading guided bird walks at Chimney Rock since 1989 and is the author of the guide “Birds of Chimney Rock.” He is the owner and guide of Ventures Birding Tours based in Asheville, N.C. Ventures offers local bird watching trips to many local WNC birding hotspots, as well as tours throughout the U.S. and overseas. From looking at warblers in the Blue Ridge to big game safaris in Africa, Ventures offers a wide range of bird watching and nature activities. Learn more or book a tour at www.birdventures.com.

Mr. Thompson is also co-owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Asheville. In addition to selling excellent quality bird seed and feeders, they offer a great selection of bird houses, bird books, nature-related gifts and much more. Simon, Chris and the rest of the WBU staff can help you with any of your bird questions. Check out their website at www.asheville.wbu.com.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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