Exciting Trips Offered by Ventures Birding Tours - TribPapers

Exciting Trips Offered by Ventures Birding Tours

Whales may be seen on the trip to Newfoundland. Photo courtesy of Ventures Birding Tours.

Asheville – Ventures Birding Tours is offering some enticing trips this summer and fall, all over the world. Don’t let this opportunity for an amazing adventure pass you by. Simon Thompson, the owner and operator of Ventures Birding Tours, has put together a team of knowledgeable guides to help anyone explore and learn about the habits, habitats, and homes of these incredible animals. In fact Paul Laurent, a naturalist and long-time birder, has recently joined the company. In July Ventures Birding is taking a group to the rainforest jungles of Malaysia and the island of Borneo (only 2 spots left); in September there is a tour of St. Johns Island in Newfoundland, a cooler climate, where you will see puffins, flying seabirds, and humpback whales. In October a tour will explore Cape Cod and Southern Rhode Island. Cape Cod juts far out into the Atlantic from the Massachusetts mainland, and as such, has some of the best seabird watching on the East Coast. Simon Thompson himself will be leading all three of these trips. The testimonials praising his abilities on the website, birdventures.com, are overwhelming….” one of the best trip leaders I have ever had” or “the eyes, the ears, the knowledge, all packaged into one.”

Local Day Trips This Summer

Locally, a visit to Roan Mountain will be held on June 23 led by Clifton Avery. The group will meet at 6:00 am at the Weaverville Plaza shopping center. At 6,280 feet, the “bald” summit is the highest point of the Iron Mountains, which form a barrier between North Carolina and Tennessee. Spread along the ridge is Roan Mountain Gardens with 600 acres of Catawba rhododendron gardens and 850 acres of Fraser Fir and spruce. This natural garden on the crest of the mountain is usually in full bloom during the last two weeks of June. There is sure to be a stunning group of over 75 spectacular flame azaleas at Round Bald at Carvers Gap. The cost is only $60.

The Atlantic puffin will undoubtedly be seen on the tour to Newfoundland. Photo courtesy of Ventures Birding Tours.
The Atlantic puffin
will undoubtedly be seen on the tour to Newfoundland. Photo courtesy of Ventures Birding Tours.

On June 26, there is a half-day walk at Chimney Rock State Park, home to numerous breeding warblers and some magnificent scenery. If lucky perhaps one will encounter a Peregrine Falcon. The guide will be Mike Resch, with a cost of $60 and a $17 person entry fee to the Chimney Rock State Park.

On July 21st a tour will begin at Trout Lake, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock. Trout Lake has nesting Canada, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided Warblers, and many others. After lunch at the Julian Price Picnic Area, the group will head to one of the most unappreciated birding spots in the High Country – The Price Lake Campground to see birds like Blackburnian Warblers.

Satisfying One’s Ornithological Curiosity

As summer arrives, more species of birds fly around the area, perking up one’s curiosity. How can one find out exactly what kind of bird has just moved into the little birdhouse on the tree nearby? With new electronic techniques on your iPhone and computer, it has become easier and easier to come up with an identification. Did you know there is an app on your phone where you can listen to a bird song and find out what kind of bird it is that is singing? If you can capture their photo, then of course the bird Identification app will tell you exactly. Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID is just such a site. Did you realize there are several cams focused on birds throughout the world, so you can easily follow and watch their activity day in and day out at a feeder or their nest? You can see Montana Osprey perched high up in his nest overlooking a parking lot. If you watched on June 12 this year you would have seen the Osprey feeding his Hatchling. Otherwise, there is the Great Backyard Bird Count held each February. This year 7,957 species were recorded from around the world. The Blue Ridge Audubon is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving Buncombe, Henderson, and surrounding counties in the mountains of western North Carolina. There are monthly outings at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, Lake Julian Park, Jackson Park, and Owen Park. These free program meetings, bird outings, and special events are open to all — members and non-members alike.

Once you get started on a new adventure like bird watching, it may become difficult to stop. There are more and more avenues to pursue, including purchasing guidebooks and easier-to-use binoculars. It can become a lifelong pursuit. For now, just know that bird watching will enrich your life, no matter how far you decide to pursue it.