Shorebirds of the Central NC Coast: August 17–18, 2019 (This trip is full)
By Steve Shultz
Fall migration in August? Yes! While the dog days of summer may be in force, Arctic-nesting shorebirds are in full southbound mode. "Peeps", plovers, knots, Whimbrels, godwits and more flood preferred locations along the North Carolina coast to rest and fuel up for the trip farther south, or, for birds that make their winter home in the Carolinas, to stake out prime wintering territory.
Not sure how to tell the difference between a Semipalmated and a Western Sandpiper? Hoping to spot a (rare—not expected) Long-billed Curlew? Eager to visit a pair of locations not easily accessible to the casual birder? Then join members of the Carolina Bird Club as we explore two of the best locations for late-summer shorebirds, Shackleford Banks and Bird Shoal. Both are uninhabited barrier islands in the Central Coast section of North Carolina, near Morehead City/Beaufort, and both provide the correct habitat to expect decent numbers and diversity of shorebirds.
On Saturday we plan to visit Shackleford Banks, the southernmost island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore. This all day (pack your lunch!) adventure begins with a passenger ferry ride across Back Sound to the island. We'll bird the high tide, when large numbers of shorebirds concentrate at high-ground roosts, study and contrast the species present, and hope for something really exciting!
On Sunday we plan to visit Bird Shoal. A much shorter passenger ferry ride delivers us to this quiet island just a stone's throw from the Beaufort waterfront. Long known for its fall and winter aggregations of shorebirds, we also hope to see waders, gulls, and loafing terns including Black Tern.
Leaders for this trip are John Fussell (who literally wrote the book on Coastal Carolina birding!), Steve Shultz, and Susan Campbell.
This trip visits the Morehead City/Beaufort/Harkers Island area of eastern North Carolina on August 17th and 18th, 2019. We will depart from Harkers Island Saturday morning (time TBA based on ferry schedule) and from the Beaufort waterfront Sunday morning (again, time TBA based on ferry schedule). Expect to spend most of the day Saturday on the barrier island. Sunday's trip should end around noon.
This trip is designed for all skill levels, but is a strenuous outing. Expect to spend long hours with no shade or shelter, carry all water and food with you, and be prepared for heat, rain, biting insects, and foot travel over deep sand and shallow water. Ferry passage across the sound is in uncovered skiffs with the possibility of spray.
Registration cost is $75 per person with a limit of 10. You must be a member of the Carolina Bird Club to attend, but you may join at the same time as you register if you are currently not a member. Participants are responsible for lodging, meals, and transportation. All levels of birding experience are welcome.
Contact Steve Shultz for a reserved slot and a registration form. If your plans should change after registration, refunds are available through July 15th. After July 15th refunds are available if we can fill your slot. Additional details, including an FAQ, will be provided after confirmation of your space on the trip.