Monday, June 13, 2011

Alder Flycatchers - Black Balsam, Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC - 6/13/11

Hi All,

Alder Flycatchers were reported still on their breeding territory in the Black Balsam area on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina on 6/13.

The posts from CarolinaBirds:

Back in 2009, when I was no longer willing to wait for a very rare transient Alder Flycatcher to show up in Georgia in order to see my life Alder, I ventured up to the site after reading Marilyn Westphal's post on 5/30/09 where she had seen 7 of the birds there. It's a gorgeous and very special place and full of Alder Flycatchers in the spring (I saw 5). The 5/31/09 NGR post follows, this post was when The NGR was being posted only to Georgia Birders Online (GABO-L) before the blog started. I highly recommend a visit to the site if even just for the natural beauty of the area, Alder Flycatchers not inlcuded!

The 5/31/09 NGR (GABO-L) post:

Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 17:15:53 -0400
Reply-To: Mark McShane
Sender: Georgia Birders Online
From: Mark McShane
Subject: Near Georgia Report* - Alder Flycatchers (and Red Crossbills) - Black Balsam, Pisgah National Forest - North Carolina - 5/30/09

Hi All,

As most know Alder Flycatchers are not casual or accidental in Georgia, but are rare fall and spring transients in the state. Usually at least one is reported every year, but they are usually very hard to find or chase!

According to my beginning research the southernmost tip, a very small and virtually detached remote area far south of their mostly much more northern main breeding range, ends in extreme NE Tennessee and extreme NW North Carolina just north of Georgia!

I am always intrigued (and some say easily intrigued), by species whose southernmost or southeasternmost ranges in North America end in north Georgia (such as the Common Raven), or very Near Georgia! We are very fortunate to have Alder Flycatchers breeding so close to Georgia!

Marilyn Westphal, of Asheville North Carolina, and co-author of the site 41 section (Devil’s Courthouse and Black Balsam) in the Falcon Guide - Birding North Carolina, posted a great Alder Flycatcher (7 found) report from Black Balsam, in the Pisgah National Forest, yesterday!

Marilyn’s post:

Birding North Carolina states that the Black Balsam site is consistently one of the best and most reliable mountain spots in NC for Alder Flycatchers, and that Devil’s Courthouse is also an excellent spot for Peregrine Falcons and for hearing Northern Saw-whet Owls in the summer!

The Carolina Birding Club has a great link to the site 41 section of Birding North Carolina on their website (need both lines in the address with no spaces) at:

If you intend to visit the site it would be well to study the site 41 write-up for precautions, directions, and what to expect. The area really is a premium high-elevation Appalachian birding area!

Black Balsam Road is just east of the intersection of Hwy 215 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. GPS coordinates for Black Balsam Road (or Black Balsam Knob Road on some maps) and the Blue Ridge Parkway (go north on Black Balsam Road) are:

N 35 18.959
W 82 52.160

On the way back to Georgia from Black Balsam one can stop in the Rabun Bald, Dillard, and/or the Blairsville areas for great looks at, and listens to, our Georgia Least and Willow Flycatchers as well, making for a near grand-slam of our regional, breeding, much-loved, little gray, But... tinged with olive, brown, or yellow, and wing-barred, and eye-ringed, Empidonax Flycatchers!!! Hale Ridge Road/Bald Mountain Road is 60 miles from Black Balsam.

Acadian Flycatchers breed in the region as well in appropriate habitats, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers possibly are breeding in NC too! The birds should be singing from mid-May into and maybe through June!!!

Good Near Georgia Birding!


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