Date: 9/24/17 8:33 am From: Corey, Ed <ed.corey...> Subject: Ridge Junction Overlook -- 9/23
After hearing reports for years about the legendary Ridge Junction Overlook during Fall, Neil Skoog and I made the journey up yesterday morning (after camping at the nearby Curtis Creek Campground on Friday evening). We arrived around 6am, and the show began! We tried to be conservative with our Nocturnal Flight Call IDs, but still had about 150 Swainson's Thrush before 645 (our pre-dawn list), as well as Wood Thrush, Veery, and Gray-cheeked Thrush. I also enjoyed hearing a couple of Barred Owls declaring their presence first thing.
As the sun started peeking over the hills, it was time to put eyes on birds. Other birders began to arrive, and we started sorting through the passerines, tallying 10 species of warblers in the time we were there, including:
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Eastern Palm Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Other highlights included 29(!!) Red Crossbills and 2 rather obliging Lincoln's Sparrows. As we were wrapping up around 930, the raptors decided to make a show, first with a Broad-winged Hawk over the radio towers to the northwest, then a hunting Peregrine Falcon, and finally a brief retreating look at a Merlin.
A quick run to the summit of Mount Mitchell added Cooper's Hawk, for an areal total of 50 species. Others birding there (including Jeff Click and Trevor, Allen Ratzlaff and another local birder whose name I didn't catch, and another local Trevor) may be able to add more species of interest for the day.
If you have not made the trek to Ridge Junction yet, I can't recommend it enough. It is both humbling and stimulating in all the right ways!
Raleigh, NC (this minute)
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