Well, after much pressuring from our family and friends, we’ve officially boarded the blog bandwagon.  Our first post would have coincided with the first day of the season (Sept. 1), but a series of unfortunate events and crippling bouts of laziness prevented this from happening.  Now, with the majority of the season and the peak of migration behind us, we will try and summarize as best we can, through our next few posts, the plethora of cool shit that’s occurred up here.  Sincerest apologies to our biggest fans who have eagerly checked our bare-bones blog hoping for updates; From here on out we’ll try not to keep you waiting so long.   Without further ado, here’s the first entry: a whole month and 17 days late.
View of Big Bald from Little Bald – The Hawkwatch is conducted from the summit of Big Bald; Big Bald Banding Station is actually located on Little Bald, along the Appalachian Trail.

Stuff you should know about Big Bald and the lands surrounding it:

– Elevation: 5,510 ft.

– It’s really close to the TN border.

– It’s a mountain bald. Meaning it lacks vegetation (except it has grasses and other laterally spreading, low vegetation, like most balds).

– There’s a nice 360-degree view from the top.  You can see Erwin, Johnson City, I-26, Mt. Mitchell, Table Rock, Roan Mtn., Unaca Mtn., Mt. Pisgah and sometimes Max Patch (another mountain bald!), or maybe you can always see it, but I couldn’t point it out to you.  We do the hawkwatch from Big Bald because it affords such a great view (on days it’s not totally fogged in).

– The banding station is right off the AT on Little Bald.  And when I say “station” I mean an old wooden table w/ banding supplies and an assortment of 18 mist nets.  It’s what we use to catch songbirds (and sometimes Sharp-shinned Hawks).  They are called mist nets because they are hard to see unless they are in direct sunlight.  Everything we do is with the utmost safety for each bird.

– Access is via the Appalachian Trail, or through the gated ski community of Wolf Laurel.  You have to be on a very elite list of visitors to be granted access to this illustrious, high class resort/community.  Sarcasm? Yes. It’s an alright community, but let’s face it.  Anyone should be able to enjoy the vista from Big Bald’s top.

For more info about the station itself, go to http://www.bigbaldbanding.org

A typical nylon mist net. For us, it's net #9. Each one has several rows of pockets called "trammels," which the birds fall into when they hit the net.These are positioned along the Appalachian Trail in various locations and orientations.

And…now for a few bird pics.

Red-eyed Vireo. One of 2 vireo species we've caught this season. Taken Sept. 1

Cape May Warbler. Soooo gorgeous. One of our most common warblers. Taken Sept. 1

Ok, well I hope the first entry was worth the wait.  Botfly and I have to go chop firewood so we can prepare for the oncoming threat of snow (yes, SNOW) that could come in sometime this week.  Fires, bourbon and memories of September shall keep us warm!

PS – Happy Birthday, Amy!

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6 responses »

  1. Sandy says:

    Well worth it! But you chopping wood? please post a picture… have to see it…to believe it…hehe

  2. Dad says:

    Nice. You should have lots of stuff to post-a plethora should last awhile. Safe chopping please.

  3. Laddy Faddy Doody Daddy says:

    Okay in order for this “blog thing” to work you gotta keep updating buddy. Or is this still exactly what is happening in your life right now? Botfly said this was all updated and got my hopes up for a new post…

    • Well the first post is always the hardest, is it not? With one under our belt, the rest will come! Bottfly is going to write the next one. We’re up at the bald for about one more week, so we’re doing most of this not as it happens but as it happened. So it takes a little longer to summarize. Keep checking back, we’re working on some other pages as well.

  4. Robert says:

    Dude, this is awesome. Can’t wait to read more from you guys!

  5. Mams says:

    Hey Botfly! Did you take the pic’s?

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