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Re: Occoneechee Mountain (fwd)
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- Subject: Re: Occoneechee Mountain (fwd)
- From: Joshua Stuart Rose <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 14:46:42 -0500 (EST)
- Sender: email@example.com
Thanks to everyone who sent me directions, particularly Rob Gluck; I have
forwarded his directions below, as a couple of other folks asked me to
share the directions when I had some. As it turned out, I found an old
map on the internet that led me there. Not directly; the map was old, as
I said, and a few names had changed, and some on the map had no names.
But once I was in the right neighborhood, it wasn't too hard to find.
Highest point in Orange County, after all.
Bird-wise, the only noteworthy report is a Winter Wren; it sang from
along the Eno, near Eno Mountain Road. We had parked along this road just
before the bridge over the Eno, and followed a trail from there up to the
overlook; we later discovered the official parking area on Virginia Cates
Road. The Wren was in a cool sunken gully that was absolutely choked with
shrubbery. White-throated Sparrows were abundant along both roads, while
a Great Blue Heron was prowling one of the ponds on Virginia Cates Road.
Lots of typical winter residents ranged around the mountain, and while we
were enjoying the beautiful view from the overlook I heard what sounded
like a Pine Siskin calling.
Virginia Cates Road continues up to the summit, where there are a couple
of fire-watching towers. You can't drive this, but it's an easy walk. The
scenic overlook and steep rock walls are not on this road, but on a well-
marked side trail. There were several Red Cedars around these towers, and
the slopes around the rock walls had lots of low, dense Virginia Pines;
it looked to me like a spot with prime Northern Saw-Whet Owl potential,
as good as anywhere in the Triangle anyway. Unfortunately, the place
closes at 6 PM, so going in to play tapes is probably not possible for
the general public. I checked the trees as closely as I had time for, and
listened for mobbing landbirds, but no luck this time.
Due to the time of year, there wasn't much other than birds and the view
to enjoy on this trip. There is a nice assortment of boradleaf evergreen
shrubs, rhododendrons and azealas and mountain laurels. Apparently
several plants and two butterflies (Brown Elfin and Silvery Checkerspot)
occur in disjunct populations here, far east of the rest of their ranges.
Nice place; I'm glad somebody had the forethought to preserve it, given
the way that Hillsborough is sprawling all over the surrounding
Joshua S. Rose
Department of Zoology
---------- Forwarded message ----------
from Durham, take I-85 west to Churton St exit and take north to
Hillsborough. Turn left on Mayo St., then left again on Orange Grove Rd.
Before passing under I-85, turn right on Virginia Cates Rd. (gravel).
Parking is about half mi. up on the left.