NC 751 bridge

By Will Cook

Overview: One of the most frequently birded spots at Jordan Lake, this bridge has an expansive view of the lake to the west of the bridge and the Northeast Creek arm of the lake to the east.

Getting there: From I-40, take NC 751 (exit 274) south for about 6 miles. From US 64, take NC 751 north about 6 miles. Park along the causeway wherever gives you the best vantage point. There is also a small gravel parking lot a short distance north of the bridge on the west side of the road.

Coordinates for Google Earth/Maps: 35 49 59.4 N, 78 57 50.1 W

Where to go: Stop and scan at several spots along the long causeway. It isn't possible to see everything on the east side from one spot. Watch out for potholes. If you have time to look for landbirds, pull in to the gravel lot. You can hike a short trail leading to the base of the bridge. At the edge of the lot is a gate and a wide gamelands trail leading on into the woods. You can follow the trail for a couple of miles before it peters out, past a mix of forest and field created for the benefit of hunters. During deer gun season it's best to visit this area only on Sundays. Along the way, there are several short spur trails leading off to the left. These all lead to the lake. This is the best way to get to the east side of the New Hope Creek mudflats, which is an excellent shorebirding spot when water level is low. Northeast Creek is also a good spot to explore by canoe.

What to look for: Herons and egrets often roost in the trees east of the bridge, up to 110 Great Egrets in 1999. Bald Eagles are commonly seen here. When water levels are low in summer and fall, the area east of the bridge turns into a giant mudflat, attracting scores of shorebirds and waders, highlighted in 1999 by two American Avocets and a Baird's Sandpiper. In winter, dabbling ducks are usually present in the shallow water east of the bridge. The gamelands trail has the usual woodland and field birds. It has the potential to attract many of sparrows in the winter.

Facilities: None.

When to visit: All year

Revised 12/29/2008

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