North Carolina county #28 Green River Cove Trail
Now that we are into April, I am starting work on the southern mountain counties in North Carolina. I am hoping to see the first of the migrants, and am especially interested in viewing any species I missed last year (which was my first full year birding). I got lucky last weekend when my daughter spotted a Louisiana Waterthrush in a park in Mecklenburg. This was one of the ones I missed last year as I was not fully up to speed at the beginning of the Spring and they are one of the first to come around.
During the week, I went out to Polk county to walk down the Green River Cove Trail. The trail is in the Green River Game Lands, and to get to it you drive down Green River Cove Road. The road itself is very interesting. At one point you can look down and see four or five loops of it snaking down the mountain at a very steep angle. You drive back and forth at about 10 miles an hour, making near 180 degree turns every 100 yards or so. I wish I had spent more time just listening and stopping and getting out along the parking spots down the road, as I have heard reports that it can be even better than the trail. I snapped this photo through my car window on the way down.
The trail head is just across a small bridge over the Green River. There is a gravel area on the side of the road that can fit about five cars. You then cross the road and head up the trail.
Of course, I picked the most windy day in a month to go out, as a cold front was coming in. Still, I was hopeful I would see some first-of-year birds. It wasn’t long before I started hearing the Yellow-throat Warbler call I have become familiar with since I’ve been seeing it all over the state in the last week or so. I listened and followed the call until I got some decent looks at this good-looking bird. He did continue to allude my camera though, as have all the rest. These guys keep moving and don’t give you much time.
I was specifically hoping for the Black-throated Green Warbler. This was one I missed last year and so would be a life bird for me. After hearing a call I didn’t know for a little bit, I checked the call of the Black-throated Green on my Sibley phone app and it matched! It took some time more but I finally spotted him flying right towards me. I managed to snap a few photos when he stopped on a tree for a bit.
I also saw my first of year Black-and-white Warbler. I love the look of these guys.
It was a nice walk, but not many opportunities for scenic photos. I stopped for a bit to take a shot of the Green River.
There was heavy rains the day before pushing a lot of muddy water into the river. I also had to cross about four tributaries walking the trail and I was glad I didn’t fall in the water with my camera gear.
I’m starting to play with my macro lens and shot some flowers along the river. I need practice in figuring out depth of field with such close focus points.
There wasn’t a lot of birds around due to the wind, but I was still very happy to have gotten a new life bird. Another fun day of county birding done.