Asheville, North Carolina.
Regular readers of this attempt at a travel blog will recognize that I like to stop at places where there might be birds to photograph. Careful viewers of my images will note that in many of these posts, there are few photographs of birds. I am not a birder and claim no expertise at identifying the many species of winged aviators (and non-aviators) in the world of birds. Nor do I know the best times of the year to visit these sites. In most cases, we are traveling near the area and decide to stop and see what we can find.
With an early morning walk and the hope of catching a bird or two in mind, on our last morning in Asheville, we stopped at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, one of the “Things to do in Asheville” from TripAdvisor. As you can see by the opening shot, it was a good day to catch birds in flight or resting on a branch.
Beaver Lake is located in the northern part of Asheville and was built in the mid-1980s through the assistance of the Audubon Society. There is a small parking lot at the entrance with a donation box for a parking fee but there is no admission charge for spending time in the sanctuary. As you can see by the image above, the group spent a lot of time and money building places to sit and a 3/8th mile (0.6 km) boardwalk winds through the riparian area that separates the city from Beaver Lake. In addition to the boardwalk, there are areas of nature trails where people can venture away from the wooden pathway if desired.
On the morning we were there, it was on the cool side, but thankfully, as you can see by the photo above, there wasn’t a lot of wind. Especially in the bay by the sanctuary, the waters were quite calm on this late October morning. According to a post on the web here, guided walks are available on a limited schedule, the first Saturday of the month.
One part of the boardwalk becomes almost a dock that overlooks the edge of the water. Looking carefully along the water’s edge, I saw the head of a large waterfowl. At first I thought it was a statue. Sitting there motionless for some time, I was absolutely sure it wasn’t a real bird. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly, it moved ever so slightly.
The hours of the park are dawn to dusk and the parking lot gate is closed when the park is closed. Unless it’s time for a guided walk, there is likely to be only visitors around. On the morning we were there, it was quiet with only a few other people there as well. According to the website mentioned above, we picked a good time to visit the park, late August through October.
Many of the birds are permanent residents, but there are also migratory birds that transit the area and find a nice place to rest in the midst of a city before they continue on their way. The small gallery of images featured here were captured on our short walk through the area. In most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.
As I conclude this visit to the sanctuary, I would like to thank my friend, Hebe Shipp for identifying the birds featured in this post.