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Birds sighted on a trip from Augusta, Georgia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Old Monday 21st June 2010, 15:04   #1
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Birds sighted on a trip from Augusta, Georgia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Supposedly, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park holds 200 species of birds. I saw far more birds on the way to and back from the Park.

These are the species I saw between Augusta and the park.
city pigeon
mourning dove
common crow
brown thrasher
turkey vulture
red tailed or red shouldered hawk--I can never tell the difference between species of hawk in the buteo genus. I saw two. I don't know if they were the same species or not.
eastern kingbird
chimney swifts
bank swallows--these were very common. I saw them everytime a passed over a bridge that went over a small stream. They formerly nested in sand banks, but now nest under bridges where they find plenty of mosquitoes to eat.

These are the species I saw within the park.
Canadian geese
common crow
pileated woodpecker
turkey vulture

5 out of the supposed 200. Are there really 200? I have my doubts.

The most common species of animal in the park is Homo sapiens.

I wrote a 1500 word travelogue and posted about a dozen pictures of my vacation to the park at

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Old Monday 21st June 2010, 18:13   #2
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Hi, Mark -

I think the Swallows under the bridge you were seeing are Cliff Swallows. at least, this is true of the bridge-dwelling Swallows here around Asheville, NC. The two species do look similar.
I seldom get to bird the Smokies,(the most popular and crowded National Park in the eastern US), except for the far eastern edge, around the Heintooga area. But I think many of those 200 species on the Park list are probably migrants only seen in spring and fall and many others may not be singing after late morning, making them difficult to find. This is especially true of some Warblers and Vireos species which seldom leave the canopy of mature trees. Mature woods, such as the Smokies, is not the place for bird species diversity but a refuge for those specialized species that need old growth. Cerulean, Canada and Magnolia Warblers are a prime example. Winter Wrens and Thrush species also benefit from this type of forest management.
If you get to try this area again and are hoping to see a greater number of species, try using the Blue Ridge Parkway to access a variety of habitats. There are a great deal of overlooks and trails that provide access to dozens of species for three seasons. I can help direct you to some of the better spots when you get that opportunity.
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Old Tuesday 22nd June 2010, 15:33   #3
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You may be right about the species of swallow, but the birds I'm seeing look exactly like the photos of bank swallows in the bird guide I have.
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Old Thursday 1st July 2010, 03:30   #4
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There actually is a pretty good breeding diversity of songbirds in the Smokies, they are just hard to find in all that vegetation, and are easier very early in the morning before crowds gather
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