LAST SPACES NOTE
Only one space remains open on our May 29, 2013 departure.
This short tour offers perhaps the finest birding for breeding wood-warblers to be found anywhere in a small compass. From the rolling Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia across the spacious Shenandoah Valley to the superb Allegheny and Cheat mountains of her sister state, the warbler list can easily top two dozen in a few days. You won't leave disappointed--unless, of course, you come expecting to see Virginia's Warbler!
Commencing in Albemarle County, home of Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, we'll visit the James River bottoms and nearby countryside before moving on to the Blue Ridge Parkway where we'll spend the morning birding a lovely oak forest thickly strewn with an understory of delicate mountain laurel. From there we'll head west across the Valley through submontane George Washington National Forest, interrupted by lush mountain meadows, on a leisurely drive to West Virginia and the varied habitats of the Monongahela National Forest. During our next two days, we'll explore Virginia's exquisitely beautiful Blue Grass Valley and its gently surrounding slopes for nesting Golden-winged Warblers and two of America's finest birds--Bobolink and Red-headed Woodpecker--as well as West Virginia's spruce and hardwood forests.
Precious few places in the East hold the enchantment of the southernmost spruce bogs at this time of year. Swampy, moss-choked rhododendron thickets, dark coniferous forests with towering red spruce, and lightly clad, succession-growth knobs provide nesting habitats for a surprising variety of boreal species, some of which reach their southern limit here as regular breeders. In addition to warblers, there are numerous eastern breeders to enjoy, including four species of Empidonax flycatchers, musical breeders such as Winter Wren, Purple Finch, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and the evening chorale of thrushes, often subliming right into the night.
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