This was my 3rd year attending the new River birding and nature Festival in Fayetteville West Virginia. It also was the 10th anniversary of the event, which has grown from around 45 people to 150 people who, many of which have been attending for many years. What makes the event so wonderful is not only all of different birding and wildlife and nature venues that are present in the southern Appalachian region, but the people. Everyone is extremely friendly and you easily make new friends and have a great time. The event has different packages, from a full week package to a daily package. In the full week and partial week packages are included lodging, meals, trips and education.
Fayetteville is the location of the new River Gorge national River, which is the oldest River in the United States and flows northward and finally ends up in the Ohio River. This area is the heart of coal country and down in the gorge, there are remnants of old mining towns in the railroad still runs through the gorge. The New and Gauley rivers are noted Whitewater rivers and can be anywhere up to class V and class VI.
The day starts with breakfast at 6 AM, and as soon as breakfast is finished, you load on your bus for the days adventure into birding. Each of the trips usually has at least 3 guides who were there to make sure that everybody sees the birds and to help the participants obtained a life bird. Around noon time each day. There is a gathering of each group for lunch, then followed by more birding, and finally finishing up at around 2 PM. They also have a number of all day trips that leave at 6 AM with breakfast on the bus and do not return until 8 or 9 PM. These trips of those that travel a long distance to get to the area for the birding.
Every afternoon, there is a popcorn session with a talk on various subjects, which this year range from cerulean warblers, birding in Cuba, to photography.
People will gather starting around 5 PM, to sit, relax and enjoy a beverage, which also included local beer from the New River Brewing Company. After supper, there was an evening lecture and on the Saturday evening, Music by the Rain Crows.
So if you really want to have an enjoyable event and see a large number of birds, this year we saw all but 2 of the warblers that are on the birding list for the area, plan to attend next year, the New River Birding and Nature Festival. For information, see this URL http://www.birding-wv.com/contact-us-mainmenu-62.html