XVII. Bur-Mil Park
5834 Bur-Mil Club Road, Greensboro, NC 27410
GPS: N 36° 10.056' W 79° 52.164'
Directions: Bur-Mil Park is in the northern part of Greensboro just off Battleground Avenue/US 220. To reach Bur-Mil from I-40/I-85, it is necessary to get on Wendover Avenue first. If coming from the south or east, first head north on US 29 and then take the Wendover Avenue exit west toward the city center, or if coming from the west on I-40, take the Wendover Avenue exit and head east toward the city center. Once on Wendover Avenue, take the Battleground Avenue north/Westover Terrace exit and drive north away from Greensboro’s central business district. At about 6.2 miles, turn right (east) on Owl’s Roost Road and proceed about 0.4 mile to the park entrance.
Bur-Mil Park is a Guilford County park that is administered by the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department. Bur-Mil is so named because the property originally was owned by Burlington Industries. Although most of the easily accessible areas of this 250 acre property are dedicated to a golf course, driving range, par-3 course, pool, and clubhouse, the park also has picnic shelters, a wildlife education building, a fishing pond, a pier, 4.5 miles of trails, and offers views of the western end of Lake Brandt. Birding is fair to good year-round, but it is particularly good in fall and spring.
Just before the entrance is a small parking area where it would be worth pausing to look and listen in the pines and nearby deciduous forest edge for birds. (Since the park doesn’t open until 8:00 a.m., this is a good place to start for early risers.) Species that are possible here include Pine Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker all year, Wood Thrush, Orchard Oriole, and Summer Tanager in summer, and in fall and winter, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler and the occasional Brown Creeper.
Along the entry road watch and listen for American and Fish Crows, Common Grackles, flocks of American Goldfinches, and Chipping Sparrows, sometimes in large flocks in winter. Around the clubhouse watch for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in winter, and House Finches, Eastern Phoebes, Blue Jays, Brown Thrashers, and Northern Mockingbirds all year.
Circle to the right past the clubhouse and drive all the way to the last parking area. A small fishing pond down the hill on the left almost always has Mallards and Canada Geese, and occasionally has Wood Ducks if there are no anglers around. The trees around the pond may be alive with many species of birds, particularly in spring during migration.
From the parking area walk down to the fishing pier for a panoramic view of the west end of Lake Brandt. While it isn’t particularly birdy here, it is possible to see a few ducks, an occasional loon or grebe, and gulls on the water or flying by. If you want to see a birdier part of the lake, walk back off the pier to the trail and turn right (northwest). This is a part of Owl’s Roost Trail. In about a half mile the trail leaves the park and comes out of the woods onto a narrow causeway and bridge that was once the site of an old train route. Rather than come out of the woods, a hiker could also turn left (west) onto the Big Loop Trail, which is about 3.5 miles in length.
At the fishing pier a hiker also could turn right and continue bearing right at the trail fork onto the Little Loop Trail to the southeast. It is about 1 mile long. After a few hundred yards, there is a small pond on the left (east) side of the trail to check for birds. Be careful to continue bearing right to stay on the Little Loop Trail. Taking the left fork will take the hiker out of the park on the Lake Brandt Greenway.
Finding Birds in Guilford County © 2003 Dennis Burnette