Birding by Bus - Cades Cove

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Wednesday May 22

8:00 AM  –  2:00 PM

Guide: Keith Watson
Meeting location: Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. Townsend, TN
Birding enthusiasts have recorded more than 125 species in Cades Cove during May and we'll count how many we see under the guidance of birding expert Keith Watson.

We'll begin our day with a walk around part of campground B Loop, then head out into the Cove aboard our minibus, stopping at various places along the Cades Cove Loop Road, Sparks and Hyatt Lanes to listen and look for grassland and forest and field edge birds such as Orchard Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, hawks, vultures and sparrows.

We'll also look for the uncommon Red-headed Woodpecker at a couple of stops. Other migrants we'll likely see and hear are cuckoos, vireos, flycatchers, warblers (25 species recorded in May), tanagers, sparrows and more. Time permitting, we'll stop by the water treatment ponds upon exiting the Cove to look for migrant waterfowl and waterbirds.
Activity Rating: Easy. This is not a hike but we will be exiting and entering the bus regularly for short walks. We may also be walking on uneven surfaces with trip hazards such as exposed roots and rocks. 

What to bring: In addition to plenty of water, an appropriate amount of food for your comfort, comfortable walking shoes and your favorite field guide, we recommend that you bring binoculars, something to take notes with, a camera and bring along a backpack and rain gear. A personal first-aid kit and trekking poles may be helpful as well.

About our guide: Keith Watson, a native to Sevier County, has over 35 years of national (coast to coast) birding experience, including East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. He began birding as a conservationist in the mid-1970’s in Knoxville, TN as a student at the University of Tennessee. While working in several national park units such as Shenandoah National Park, Virgin Islands National Park and more. During that time, Keith had the support of National Park Service management to promote and coordinate bird conservation and partnerships and developed an Avian Conservation Implementation Plan for each national park unit in the southeastern region of the NPS (57). Currently, Keith is leading bird tours for local organizations including, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, Smoky Mountain Outdoors, Buckhorn Inn, the City of Gatlinburg and Wilderness Wildlife Week. Together with fellow birders, he has documented birds never before reported for Sevier County, TN.

Questions about joining this event? Call 865.436.7318 extension 349 or email Dana Murphy.
Program proceeds are used to support GSMA's mission to support the perpetual preservation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the National Park System by promoting greater public understanding and appreciation through education, interpretation and research. Thank YOU!