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Trip Descriptions



A few are tried-and-true, and a few are new; all are absolute gems.
Limited to twenty-five persons and two or more guides, these trips are on a bus and return around 2:00.
• Monday http://birding-wv.com/images/stories/logo/car-icon_15x13.png Birding by Butt
• Tuesday – Glade Creek
• Wednesday – Burnwood to Babcock
• Thursday – High Country
• Friday – Fayette Station
• Saturday – Sugar Creek


If you want a day to slip in late or slip out early for a little additional rest or sight seeing, throw in a carpool trip.
Limited to twenty persons and two or more guides, these trips return around 2:00.
• Tuesday – Fayette Station; Glade Creek
• Wednesday – Summerlee Rail Trail
• Thursday – Woods, Creek & Farm
• Friday – Wolf Creek Walk
• Saturday – Long Point Walk


Roll with us through the afternoon hours and return around 4:30.
Limited to ten persons and up three guides, these trips use deluxe transportation via suv or van.
PREMIUM trips are an additional $50/person on your registration package.
• Tuesday – Sugar Creek
• Wednesday – Cranberry Glades
• Thursday – Cotton Hill
• Friday – Going for Gold
• Saturday – Muddlety Strips


Continuing your favorite offerings from previous years, plus a little something new, these trips return around 5:00.
Limited to twenty persons and up to five guides, these trips use bus transportation.
ALL-DAY trips are an additional $25/person on your registration package.
• Tuesday – Burnwood to Babcock
• Wednesday – Bobolinks to Bald Eagles *This trip stops for dinner en-route and may return as late as 7:30pm
• Thursday – Sugar Creek
• Friday – Guide's Choice
• Saturday – Cranberry Glades


Birding by Butt

Offered Monday only, Birding by Butt is a unique part of the our Festival. An opportunity to meet festival participants you'll spend time with through your stay, spend quality time with our well known and respected trip leaders, refresh your knowledge of optics, tune your ears, sight your eyes, and get into bird and nature watching mode. In addition to the bird-rich grounds at Opossum Creek Retreat (our headquarters), Dr. Bill Hilton Jr. will demonstrate the “how and why” of banding and using field marks for identification. The setting is best described as laid back, and the birding is most often described as spectacular.

Imagine sipping a hot cup of coffee in the morning on the porch at Opossum Creek Retreat while being treated to the song and fiery looks of a Blackburnian Warbler – not an occurrence that happens every year, but certainly one that does happen. Hooded Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, and Northern Parula are in abundance here and with plenty of spotting scopes and well-trained eyes on hand, many of our guests find themselves seeing the birds often enough that they turn from identification to observing behavior. Impromptu guided walks occur throughout the day.

Coffee is ready at 6 a.m.


Fayette Station

A rim to rim extravaganza that allows you to see the spectacular New River Gorge from the north rim, down to the bottom, and back up to the south rim. Cerulean Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Swainson's Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler just a few of the target birds on this trip.



Glade Creek

Flowing into the heart of New River, Glade Creek offers true exploration of our major flyway. Year after year, point counts conducted along this corridor yield an unmatched diversity of species and it’s among the first places in our area to receive flocks of migrating warblers, vireos, orioles and tanagers. A treasure to our local birding community but new on our Festival schedule due to access issues that kept us from sharing it with you in the past. Thanks to road upgrades we look forward to getting you into this very birdy and beautiful part of the Gorge, rich in birds, botany and butterflies.



Woods, Creek & Farm

Explore three vastly different territories, in less than a five mile radius of one another. After breakfast, stroll around Burnwood as the dawn chorus ramps with Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Wood Thrush, vireos, sparrows, and others. Then a wetland habitat at the headwaters of Laurel Creek provides other species including, heron, ducks, Swamp Sparrow, oriels, and Kentucky Warblers . After that, the open grassland habitat at Whitlock Farm. In 2015 the Farm produced 47 species in less than forty minutes; warblers, coots, swallows and Grasshopper Sparrow were among those counted. Then finish up back at Burnwood for lunch and looks at the species we left behind after breakfast.

*GOLD STANDARD Carpool Thursday


Summerlee Rail Trail

This easy, flat, paved, five mile walking trail has for many years been a most visited local birding spot; guests have commented about the “wonderful" birding on the trail next to the Holiday Lodge. White-Eyed Vireo, Blue-Winged Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Wood Thursh, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Ovenbird are just a few of the targets.

*GOLD STANDARD Carpool Wednesday


Cotton Hill

Cutting and fragmenting of the hardwood forests on the nesting grounds as well as on the migration and wintering grounds in Central and South Americas have endangered the Cerulean Warbler, one of our most beloved and spectacular Neotropical migrants. Despite such gloomy news, southern West Virginia remains a stronghold for Ceruleans, something New River Birding & Nature Festival guests get to observe every year. And there is no place like Cotton Hill to observe the Cerulean Warbler! Other abundant target birds on this trip are Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and a wide range of wood warblers.

*PREMIUM Tuesday or Thursday + $50/person


Sugar Creek

This trip was added to the Festival itinerary in 2005 and continues to receive rave reviews. It is a short ride and sure to please those with plant interests as well as bird watchers. Descending from a high ridge separating the New and Gauley Rivers, this trip provides the unique experience of exploring high, mid, and river level territories. Birds commonly seen include Cerulean Warbler (in fact, the highest concentrations we have yet seen of Cerulean in our region turned up here in 2007), Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Scarlet Tanager, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles.

*PREMIUM Tuesday + $50/person; *ALL-DAY Thursday + $25/person; *GOLD STANDARD Saturday


Long Point Walk

This four-mile round-trip trail hike includes a jaw dropping view of the world famous New River Gorge Bridge and, most days, the peregrines that live in it. Along with Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. While not a rigorous hike in terms of topography, the surface is rocky and uneven on portions of the trail.

*GOLD STANDARD Carpool Saturday


Burnwood to Babcock

Babcock State Park is teaming with warblers and vireos, and it offers some of the best opportunities for Black-throated Green Warblers, Swainson's Warblers and Blue-headed Vireos. And along the trail in Mann's Creek Canyon we have the added opportunity to view one of the most photographed grist mills in North America.

*ALL-DAY Tuesday + $25/person; *GOLD STANDARD Wednesday


Bobolinks to Bald Eagles

Start the morning with the bobo’s at one of the highest points in Fayette County at over 3000 feet and follow the water down from there to the other Glade Creek, to an old barn and a most serene spot. Warblers galore. Then traverse to river level in Hinton through several magical points along the way hoping for Bald Eagles, waterfowl and swallows too numerous to count.

We wrap up the trip with a river side dinner at Kirk's Restaurant. This trip may return as late as 7:30pm.

*ALL-DAY Wednesday + $25/person -- We'll buy your dinner at Kirk's Restaurant at the end of the trip


Muddelty Strips

Described by American Birding Association President Jeff Gordon as “the birdiest habitat in the Appalachians” this trip through varied habitat of wetlands and ridge tops offers quality looks at favorite migrants and resident birds, butterflies and other plant and wildlife.

*PREMIUM Saturday + $50/person --Plan on an initial ride of approx 30-40 minutes.


Cranberry Glades

This trip features a scenic 90-minute drive each way and is, “Well worth the drive” as reported from guests and guides alike, year after year. It is a favorite many returning participants repeat; the trip is offered twice during the week, but book it early. A remnant of the glacial age, Cranberry Glades is among West Virginia’s most unique eco-systems. A boardwalk through a botanical area is ripe with flora seen nowhere else in WV. Also often seen on this trip are black bear and signs of them are usually abundant.

As an opportunity to take full advantage of this unique flora and fauna, we staff this trip with our best botanists.

Birds normally encountered on this trip include Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Cerulean, and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes, Veery, Wood Thrush, and species not normally encountered elsewhere in the state, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Red Crossbill.

*PREMIUM Wednesday + $50/person; *ALL-DAY Saturday + $25/person


Wolf Creek Walk

Carpool to Wolf Creek Park's Wetlands Boardwalk, a favorite spot for many of our expert and local guides. An easy walk on mostly level ground over wooded trails and boardwalk, we'll expect to see Blue-winged Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and many more. As an active research and bird banding site since 2009, in addition to birding the Wetlands Boardwalk and Woodland Trails we may have the opportunity to participate in banding research (depending on weather).

*GOLD STANDARD Carpool Friday


Guide's Choice

Guide's Choice really is "Participant's Choice." Prior to the trip, guides canvas those registered for this trip to find out what bird they want to see; then the guides plan the stops in such a way as to provide the best opportunity to see those favorites or nemesis birds that have eluded you all week - just don't ask for an Auk, Western Tanager or some other out-of-range species ;)

*ALL-DAY Friday + $25/person


Going for Gold

This is far more than a one species trip. Golden-winged Warblers have been a moving target the past few years due to changes in habitat. Come with us to the top of Fayette County to look for the Golden-winged and its neighbors Cerulean Warbler, American Redstart, and Ovenbird.

*PREMIUM Friday + $50/person


High Country

An oldie and a very goodie back again! Start the morning with the bobo’s at one of the highest points in Fayette County at over 3000 feet and follow the water down from here to the other Glade Creek to the old barn and “a most serene spot”. Warblers galore. Sound familiar? This is where we start the All-Day Bobolinks to Bald Eagles route.



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