North Carolina county #34 Clay County Recreation Park
With all the places there are to get into the woods in western North Carolina, it is strange that there are counties even there that it is hard to find a good spot to bird if you are new to the area. After searching Clay County maps, I found a park on the edge of Lake Chatuge named Clay County Recreation Park. It looked like it was a decent size and there was a road through the middle of it so I figured I would be able to walk around it a bit at least.
The park turned out to be for camping. There were campers and tents at sites along the road, but at the end of the road was a circle with that small structure in the middle. I was able to park in a small lot near a playground on the edge of the circle and basically walk the edge of the water for a few hundred yards in a circle.
As you can see it was a very foggy morning. The photo above was actually taken towards the end of my visit – when I first arrived I couldn’t even make out the trees on the right. The birds were singing though and there was a good bit of activity. I got my first of the year Palm Warbler (actually there were several) which was nice.
I was also happy to get a Spotted Sandpiper along the bank, doing his bobbing movements as usual. He ran off as I approached but I don’t think he ever flew away.
I stayed at the park a little over an hour, cataloging what I could. I went away with 19 species and a good start to the day.