New River Gorge Birding and Nature Festival

Birding enthusiasts came from all over the country, and a few from abroad. It was the same with the guides, who were experts from all corners. It’s an annual birding event of the first order. It meets at the New River Gorge because of its unique geography on the Appalachian Plateau. The New River Gorge National River offers a wide variety of habitats in its 53 miles of river and steep V-shaped gorge. Riparian areas between forest and stream, mixed hardwood forests, old fields, and high cliffs provide for an array of birds nesting or living year-round within the borders of the National River. This area in southern West Virginia is at the heart of the upland, hardwood forests that are a crucial stopover habitat for the continued survival of several neo-tropical migratory species, including several Warbler species, and the Scarlet Tanager.

I was limited to two cold, overcast days because of my work schedule. Bummer. Gail had the chance to spend an extra, even colder day, 29 degrees at the crack of dawn, which is the typical starting time for these events. But even so, our group spotted 40 different species on each of the two days I was there. This is less than half of the usual. Photography was also less than ideal, though I will share at least a few of my pictures of the Yellow Throated Warbler that was my favorite bird of this trip.

Here is part of our birding group at the New River Gorge, with the famous New River Gorge Bridge in the background:

The New River:

Railroads parallel the edge of the river, dating back to the time of active coal mining that started over 100 years ago. Coal mining has long since been “tapped out” in this area, which is now a protected National River.

The Yellow Throated Warbler:

13 thoughts on “New River Gorge Birding and Nature Festival”

  1. Thanks, Dawn!

    It was fun. It's a spectacular part of the country, and we were doing something you don't do every day!

    Hi, Mike!

    It's nice to be back on EC, I guess. I still liked it better before it was corrupted by money. But I have to admit that I have met many nice bloggers through EC, including you!

  2. Dori~

    Thank you so much for stopping by! And from so far away! I hope the trip wasn't too tiring! LOL

    Dwight~

    Thank you! One of the advantages of birding on the New River Gorge is that there are trees below and above you at any given location. This particular bird was just above eye level and close, about 20 yards away. I'll tell you more about camera and lens if you want, which is the short story. The long story also includes subject characteristics, location, composition, lighting, shutter speed, aperture, and occasional post-production digital tweaking.
    .-= Ferd´s last blog ..New River Gorge Birding and Nature Festival =-.

  3. Erik~

    It really was a great experience, and we'll have another similar one in Asheville, NC in a couple of weeks. Birding is a great excuse to be outdoors, which Gail and I love, and has gotten me in touch with so much more in my environment. It all fits together.

    And I value your comment about the aesthetics of my site. It means a lot coming from an artist like yourself!

    I'll catch you at your site.

  4. Keli~

    "Thank you very much!" he says with an embarrassed blush.

    It's the camera. A Canon EOS xsi, with a medium (55-250 mm) telephoto lens. This is nothing compared to the equipment used by REAL nature photographers. They can easily spend 5 to 10 THOUSAND dollars on a lens! One of the top things on my list after I win the lottery! 🙂

  5. Well, it's definitely something, at least for my untrained eye. It's a challenge not to appreciate the beauty of nature and you capture it aptly! I'm going to make a note of your camera. Perhaps I'll be posting my birding pix soon…
    .-= Keli´s last blog ..Me, Myself and My Stupidity =-.

  6. I enjoyed the warbler sequence the most. Great shots. The bridge photo made my knees weak. Mantra: "I am not afraid of heights. I am not afraid of heights. I am not…."

    No use.

    I am afraid of heights.

  7. Mimi~

    It was a very nice birding moment, seeing a bird that travelled thousands of miles from it's home in central America to nest in West Virginia, in a tree right in front of me, with a beautiful backdrop, singing its beautiful warbler songs!

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