Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
27 members of the Carolina Bird Club participated in a day-long field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (Virginia Beach, VA) and environs on 28 Feb 2008. While the weather forecast was daunting (15-20 knot NE wind and up to 2" of rain) no one canceled due to weather! The CBC has some hardy, dedicated members! Fortunately the rain largely held off until lunchtime when we had completed the bridge-tunnel portion of the tour. While the strong winds made observation challenging (my scope blew over at least twice, thank goodness for strong Kowa manufacturing processes!) we were able to use the lee side of the buildings on each island for more comfortable observation. Highlights on the CBBT included Purple Sandpipers, Brant, all three scoters (1000+ Surf, about 2 dozen Black, and 2 White-winged), 2 Common Goldeneye, 1 Red-necked Grebe, a Common Merganser, 6-8 Harbor Seals, and the passage of the aircraft carrier Harry S Truman between islands 1 and 2. Surprisingly no Great Cormorants, which are usually here in numbers. The high winds may have forced them to roosting areas other than the islands. We wrapped up the day at the Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR where the highlight was a drake Eurasian Wigeon feeding on a mudflat with a few American brethren. Overall 71 species for the day, which is not too bad considering the post-morning steady rain precluded most passerine birding.
Look for another offering of this trip next January, probably to include a full weekend of birding in and about the Virginia Beach area.
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Original trip announcement
The Carolina Bird Club is offering a chance to bird one of the more interesting sites along the mid-Atlantic coast, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The complex's four manmade rocky islands act as a magnet for sea ducks, gulls, and other birds. With luck we should be able to leisurely study each of the world's three scoter species, (birds more often than not seen in distant, fast-moving lines), enjoy the spectacularly plumaged male Long-tailed Duck, search for shorebirds (including Purple Sandpiper) on the rocks, compare the various plumages of Great and Double-crested Cormorants, and hope for a rarity or two like Common Eider, Common Goldeneye, King Eider, or one of the uncommon gulls. After spending the morning birding the islands we will continue to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to search for wintering passerines, shorebirds, and whatever else we can find.
|Date:||Saturday, February 28 2009|
Participation is limited to CBC members (but you can join at the same time as you register for the trip!)
Logistics: The trip will begin at 7:30 a.m. the south toll terminal at the CBBT in Virginia Beach, VA and end at dusk. The $20 registration fee covers the police escort on the CBBT and guided birding throughout the day. Not included are lodging, meals, tolls, or fuel expenses. Participants will likely wish to spend Friday night in Virginia Beach. At this time of year hotel rooms are plentiful and inexpensive. We will combine to as few vehicles as possible Saturday morning for the trip to the bridge islands. There is a toll of $12 to cross the bridge, and $5 to return. Participants will be required to provide government-issued photo ID at the CBBT if requested.
To Sign Up: (The trip is full, registrations are being accepted for the waiting list–if enough interest the trip size may be increased). E-mail Steve Shultz for a registration form or if you have questions. You can also call 919-779-2826. The form and trip fee must be sent to the CBC HQ Secretary no later than 3 weeks prior to the trip in order to provide the Bridge Tunnel Authority with a listing of participants.
The CBBT can be a great place to bird! If you've never been, it is a rewarding experience. Even if the birding is slow (which is usually not the case) the possibility of wintering seals, seagoing ships, and spectacular scenery make the trip worthwhile. If you've been before, you may lament the new security restrictions, but appreciate the chance to visit again!
Please let Steve know of any questions and look forward to seeing you there!