Blue Ridge Parkway Field Trip on Saturday September 30

The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) in late September is a beautiful place to end our summer fun enjoying nature and welcome the beginning of autumn. T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society will journey to the BRP on the last Saturday in September. We hope you’ll join us for a fun field trip on Saturday, Sept. 30. Please let us know if you plan to do so.
 
This outing is for naturalists of all kinds, no matter where your interests lie. We have set it on this date because the end of September is prime time for Monarch migration, and these beautiful and interesting butterflies tend to follow the BRP on their journey south to Mexico. For the birders among us, the date also is near the peak of migration for hawks. We will pay attention to plants, too, and late summer wildflowers will be blooming in profusion. Some of the leaves will have begun to take on autumn colors, as well. There will be something to see for just about everyone.
 
We will begin our day on the BRP at the Blue Ridge Music Center at Milepost 213 just inside Virginia. Meet at 9:30 in the parking lot. We’ll spend some time in the meadows and along the woodland edges around the grounds. If we find a lot to see and linger until lunchtime, we’ll have our bring-your-own picnic at the center. Be sure to bring food and plenty to drink because we won’t be near stores or restaurants.
 
From the music center we will work our way slowly southwest along the BRP toward Sparta, stopping along the roadside periodically to check flowering meadows and woodland edges. We won’t do much hiking; it will be a drive-and-stop kind of trip. If we have time and there is interest, we could continue on to Doughton Park.
 
This trip is open to everyone, so bring family and friends, including older children. (No pets, please.) This is a joint outing with Piedmont Bird Club and NC Native Plant Society, so there is sure to be a wealth of knowledge and expertise for nearly every area of interest.
 
What to bring: There are restrooms and water at the Blue Ridge Music Center but no facilities beyond there. Bring snacks and food for picnic lunch, and be sure to bring plenty of water. Wear sturdy shoes and a hat, and you may need a sweater early in the day. Bring field guides that suit your particular naturalist interests and any field equipment you like to use such as hand lens, binoculars, and scopes. DO NOT bring nets for butterflies and dragonflies. No collecting of specimens of any kind is allowed on the BRP. However, photography is welcome and there should be plenty of photographic opportunities.
 
Cancellation: A little earlier morning fog and drizzle won’t deter us, but the trip will be cancelled if the forecast is for inclement weather all day. Check the forecast for Sparta, NC, before departing from the Triad. (The long range forecast is for a clear sunny day.)
 
RSVP if you plan to join us so we can send you any updates on meeting time, place and itinerary. Contact the trip leader, Dennis Burnette, deburnette@triad.rr.com.