Warblers, MINI Coopers, Moon Pies, and the Donner Party
Obviously, I am talking here about the May 2004 Carolina
Bird Club (CBC) meeting at
I had never been to Stecoah Gap; however, it lived up to its reputation! We had four Blackburnian Warblers and a couple of Cerulean Warblers near the parking area which was not too shabby of a start.
The meeting was very well organized, the trip leaders were great, and the setting was uniquely beautiful. J. Wallace Coffey’s keynote was humbling and very inspirational!
When I arrived Friday night, I found that we were sharing the Village with a MINI Cooper owner’s convention. They were having the second annual Dragon Run the next day. The Dragon is a nearby road that is solid switchbacks. Good name!
That night, the Minis had a dance and party and showed off
their cars at the
The next morning, I checked the official time for breakfast
and found that it was 7:30A…too late for eating before the morning field trip. Forgetting they were having a buffet
breakfast especially for the CBC, I checked out the
What I found were leftovers from the party. The tables were a mess but beggars can’t be choosers. I had a leftover brownie with my coffee and then spied a lonely Moon Pie that needed to be liberated. I took it as survival rations, tossing it up on the dash in case I did not get to eat lunch.
During the morning trip, there were some covetous remarks made by the group but I fended off the crowd. I had a decent lunch so the Moon Pie survived into the afternoon. I forgot to mention...it was a double-decker!
My birds around Fontana Village and on the Rhymer's Ferry Road trip Saturday morning included: Common Loon, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Acadian Flycatcher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Common Raven, Wood Thrush, White-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Warbler, Northern Parula Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, and Indigo Bunting.
On my afternoon trip, the covetous remarks continued and the crowd got surly so I promised the Moon Pie to the one who found us a Golden-winged Warbler. Steve Patterson found the bird at Stecoah Gap and after dinner I presented him the prize.
Did I mention it was a double-decker?
My other Stecoah Gap birds not mentioned above included: Red-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstart, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
On Sunday, seven of us braved the birding trip back to
We decided to dub ourselves the Donner Party and I took a picture of the others at Cemetery Fields just in case we did not make it. The others: Gail, Marilyn, Edith, Andrea, Becky, and Becky. A few days later a picture of this brave group, enduring these gruesome conditions, was posted to the CBC website for all to behold.
Around we stopped for lunch and fortunately, none of us turned into a cannibal. Everyone had lunches except me; however, I had eaten a big breakfast…but sure wished I still had that Moon Pie!
Later in the year I had the honor of passing over the
Donner Summit on my way from
The author, John Ennis, is a full time healthcare
consultant and a part time birder, who wishes that it were the other way
around. He lives in the
John B. Ennis ã 2004