May 4, 2020

We began our Franklin Area Big Day May 2 at “cant see o’clock” at Standing Indian to try for a Barred Owl. Before we reached the road into the campground one was on the roadside maybe enjoying its breakfast. This was an unexpected great start to a better than expected day.

We drove 183 miles and logged our last species at 9:07pm, a Chuck-wills-widow. At the end of the day we had found 90 species. That’s good news for CareNet, perhaps not so good for those who pledged on the 75 species estimate.

We birded the areas of Standing Indian/Rainbow Springs Bog, Patton Valley, the Greenway at the wetland and Suli Marsh, Iotla Valley, Walnut Creek Gap (no added species there) and the general Franklin area. We had some wonderful surprises…a Prothonotary Warbler was a first Macon County record for us. We found a Marsh Wren at Tessentee Bottoms that was also a first for us in Macon Co. The unexpected was a Willow Flycatcher, Grasshopper Sparrow and Swamp Sparrow. Though we found some species we didn’t expect, we missed some that we often get like Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-throated Warbler and Canada Warbler.

All in all it was a great and exhausting big day. We have attached a list of the species and where we saw or heard them in case anyone is interested. 

Thanks for the support,

John and Cathy

Big Day Results 2020

Acadian Flycatcher – Standing Indian

American Crow- Standing Indian

American Goldfinch -Bog at Rainbow Springs

American Redstart – Bog at Rainbow Springs

American Robin – Standing Indian

Bald Eagle – Lake Emory Road

Barn Swallow – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Barred Owl – Standing Indian

Belted Kingfisher – Standing Indian

Black-and-white Warbler – Standing Indian

Blackburnian Warbler – Standing Indian

Black-throated Blue Warbler – Standing Indian

Black Vulture – Franklin

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher –Greenway Suli Marsh 

Blue-headed Vireo – Standing Indian

Blue Jay – Standing Indian

Blue-winged Teal – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Broad-winged Hawk – Patton Valley 

Brown Creeper – Standing Indian

Brown-headed Cowbird – Franklin

Brown Thrasher – Franklin

Canada Goose – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Cape May Warbler – Lake Emory Road

Carolina Chickadee – Patton Valley

Carolina Wren – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Chestnut-sided Warbler – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Chimney Swift – East Franklin

Chipping Sparrow – Iotla Valley

Chuck-wills-widow – near Dowdle Mountain Road Franklin

Cliff Swallow – Siler Road bridge

Common Raven – Greenway Suli Marsh

Common Yellowthroat – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Dark-eyed Junco – Standing Indian

Downy Woodpecker – Patton Valley

Eastern Bluebird – Franklin

Eastern Meadowlark – Iotla Valley

Eastern Phoebe – Greenway 

Eastern Screech Owl – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Eastern Towhee – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Eurasian Collared-dove – First Street East Franklin

European Starling – Franklin

Field Sparrow – Iotla Valley

Fish Crow – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Grasshopper Sparrow – Iotla Valley

Gray Catbird – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Great-crested Flycatcher – Tessentee Bottomland Preserve

Green Heron – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Hairy Woodpecker – Standing Indian

Hooded Warbler – Standing Indian

House Finch – Franklin

House Sparrow – Franklin

House Wren – Iotla Valley

Indigo Bunting – Patton Valley

Mallard – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Marsh Wren – Tessentee Bottomland Preserve

Mourning Dove – Franklin

Northern Cardinal – Franklin

Northern Flicker – Greenway Big Bear wetland

Northern Mockingbird – Franklin

Northern Parula – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Northern Rough-winged Swallow – Winding Stair Gap

Orchard Oriole – Greenway Big Bear Wetland

Ovenbird – Standing Indian

Pileated Woodpecker – Standing Indian

Pine Warbler – Tessentee Bottomland Preserve

Prothonotary Warbler – Greenway Big Bear Wetland

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Patton Valley

Red-eyed Vireo – Standing Indian

Red-shouldered Hawk – Lake Emory

Red-winged Blackbird – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Rock Pigeon – Depot Street

Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Patton Valley

Savannah Sparrow – Iotla Valley

Scarlet Tanager – Standing Indian

Solitary Sandpiper – Lake Emory

Song Sparrow – All over

Spotted Sandpiper – Greenway flying over river

Swamp Sparrow – Tessentee Bottomland Preserve

Tree Swallow – Greenway Big Bear

Tufted Titmouse – Standing Indian

Turkey Vulture – Franklin

Veery – Standing Indian

White-breasted Nuthatch – Patton Valley

White-eyed Vireo – Bog at Rainbow Springs

White-throated Sparrow – Patton Valley

Willow Flycatcher – Iotla Valley near airport

Wood Thrush – Standing Indian

Yellow-breasted Chat – Bog at Rainbow Springs

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Tessentee Bottomland Preserve

Yellow Warbler – Lake Emory Road

Bird Friends,

It should be no surprise to us that the Sills exceeded their expectations for their Big Day on May 2 – a win-win for them and us – and CareNet.  Count was 90 species!  See Cathy’s description of the day and species list with locations attached.

Now it’s time for us to do our part.  Multiply the amount of your pledge by 90 to determine the amount of your donation.  Mail your check directly to: 


130 Bidwell steet

Franklin, NC  28734

Indicate “Sills Bird Pledge” on the check.

Thanks to John and Cathy for sharing their Big Day and to all of you for your donations to CareNet at this critical time.


April 28, 2020

This is a strange birding spring but the birds are coming anyway. Cathy and I would like to invite the bird club, and anyone else, to support a Big Day fundraiser that will benefit Carenet this year.

We have done a Big Day in our church for years to fund, most years, a medical fund. The way it works is Cathy and I bird for 24 hours to identify as many species as possible. People will pledge an amount per species and then their total will be the number of species we count times the amount of the pledge.

  Our normal Big Day tallies are around 100 species and include over 250 miles of travel. With the Great Smokies and the Parkway closed, this year, our travel will be more local and habitats more limited. We hope to get maybe 75 species.

Thanks to all,

John and Cathy Sill

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