Historic Bethabara

Historic Bethabara Park is an archeological site with two major parts: the site of a 1750’s village with a palisade fence, colonial garden and numerous archeological excavations and a system of trails that leads to the Poindexter Wildlife Preserve, which includes a wetland with two observation decks. The Park is a stop on the N.C. Birding Trail.

To get to the original village area, stay on Silas Creek Pkwy. No. for 1.7 miles past Wake Forest University Drive to the light at Bethabara Road. Turn leftand the Visitor Center will be 0.8 mile on the right. The Visitor Center has restrooms when it is open.

From the parking lot, walk along the bank below the railroad where many birds are found in fields and woods in this area including American Goldfinch, Field Sparrow and Indigo Bunting. Check around the Craft Shop before crossing the road to the church. Check nearby trees as you walk across the grass of the restoration area. There is a thicket before reaching the main stream, a paved greenway path, footbridges and footpaths, and all of it can be very productive for birding. At the paved trail along the creek, check in either direction for winter Eastern Towhee, American Goldfinch, kinglets, Purple Finch and White-throated, Swamp and Field Sparrow. In the summer there may be Northern Parula, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Baltimore Oriole, Acadian Flycatcher and both Summer and Scarlet Tanager. Other warblers stop here during spring and fall migration. Blooming Jewel Weed attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in August and September. At dusk in mid-winter, look and listen for American Woodcock.

Across the main wooden bridge you will see a sign for God’s Acre, Bethabara’s cemetery, at the top of a moderately steep path through a beech woods. Barred Owl have been nesting there, and watch for Pileated Woodpecker year round. The woods also offer flycatchers and thrushes. The paved road for the cemetery will take you to the Par (Fitness) Course, where you should watch for spring warblers, thrushes, Blue Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee and Pine Warbler. You can enter the Par Course directly from Old Town Road, which runs between the village area and Reynolda Rd. Turn at the sign at Seville Street. A walking club maintains many foot paths; and both this area and the Greenway have a variety of wildflowers.

The second section of Historic Bethabara Park is known to birders by its main feature, the Beaver Pond. Reach this area from the greenway by crossing Old Town Road and following the trails to the Boardwalk, birding all the way. Alternatively, drive by turning right from the Visitor Center parking lot and continuing straight at the first Stop Sign onto Old Town Road. At the traffic light, turn right onto Reynolda Road. Go about one mile and turn left into the Reynolda Commons Shopping Center park by the Harris-Teeter grocery store, walk back up to Reynolda Road, go right over the bridge and down the steps to the walkway under the bridge.

Check the bridge area for Eastern Phoebe and Bluebird. Follow the walkway to the first bridge across the creek on the left and an observation area will be ahead. From that observation area, you can go to your left and find the Marsh Boardwalk trail that leads to the other observation area across the pond. Heavy rains can create impassable areas and, in the past, have caused damage forcing temporary closure of the observation areas.

At the Beaver Pond, look for Wood Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose, Red-shouldered Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue and Green Heron, Prothonotary and Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Wood-Peewee, Eastern Kingbird, Brown-headed Nuthatch, several woodpeckers, Indigo Bunting, swallows and many others. In the winter, look for such birds as Swamp Sparrow and Winter Wren. Beaver and Otter can be seen if you are there early in the morning.