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Wednesday
Aug012012

Max Patch

Description

As you drive up to Max Patch on NC 206/Max Patch Road, scan the fields for Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Orchard Oriole, Yellow-breasted Chat, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers. Also watch and listen for American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Least Flycatcher, House Wren, Northern Bobwhite, and Red-tailed and Broad-winged Hawks. As the habitat changes from open fields to forest, check for Worm-eating Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Blackburnian Warbler and American Redstart. Be sure to watch for Ruffed Grouse near the roadside. Park at the trailhead for Max Patch Bald and the Appalachian Trail. Max Patch is a grassy bald at 4,629 feet in elevation. The view on a clear day can be spectacular. Northern Bobwhite, Field Sparrow, and Barn and Rough-winged Swallows are all possibilities on the bald. Continue down Max Patch Road about 0.5 miles to a small trout pond followed by a rhododendron thicket on the right. Walk along the thicket to watch for Hooded, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided and Canada Warblers, Winter and House Wrens, Dark-eyed Junco and Broad-winged Hawk. Turn around and come back down Max Patch Road to Cold Springs Road on the right. Travel down Cold Springs Road (FR 148) for approximately 3 miles, to a parking and picnic area on the left. Walk up the road to Horse Camp, listening for Blackburnian, Yellow-throated and Hooded Warblers, and Northern Parula. Continue down Cold Springs Road to the I-40 Exit at Harmon Den (Exit 7).

Species of Interest (Full Bird List)

Broad-winged Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Least Flycatcher, Golden-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler

Habitat

northern hardwood/cove forest, oak forest & mixed hardwoods/pine, dry coniferous woodlands, early successional

Special Features/Concerns

Hunting is allowed on Pisgah National Forest lands during certain times of the year. Birders should be aware of current hunting regulations and seasons, and take adequate safety precautions during those times. For more on hunting precautions, see the hunting season information at the beginning of this guide.

Access and Parking

Parking is available at Max Patch Bald and at a picnic area on Cold Springs Road (FR 148). The site can be accessed daily during daylight hours.

Directions

From I-40, take Exit 24 and head north on NC 209 (Crabtree Road, which becomes Rush Fork Road). After 8 miles, at the intersection of Betsys Gap Road, stay straight - this road becomes Max Patch Road (SR 1182). Follow Max Patch Road for approximately 13 miles, to the parking area for Max Patch Bald. From Hot Springs, follow NC 209 just over 7 miles south, to Meadow Fork Road (SR 1175). Turn right on Meadow Fork Road and go 5.3 miles to Little Creek Road (SR 1181). Follow Little Creek Road for 2 miles (road turns into gravel). At the top of the mountain, turn right on Max Patch Road (SR 1182); parking for Max Patch is approximately 1.5 miles on the right.

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