Virginia Beach Field Trip Descriptions

All trips depart from the Ramada except for the pelagic trips. You may want to bring drinks and snacks for the half-day trips and will need to bring lunch for all-day trips. Note: Some trips may change depending on site conditions and bird sightings.
Friday, February 3
Trip #1CBBT and Eastern Shore - 6:00 am
Trip #2Eastern Shore and CBBT- 6:00 am
Trip #3Pelagic Trip - TBA
Half-day morning
Trip #4South Chesapeake - 6:15 am
Trip #5Back Bay - 6:45 am
Trip #6Seashore - 7:00 am
Trip #7Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center - 7:30 am
Half-day afternoon
Trip #8South Chesapeake - 12:50 pm
Trip #9Lynnhaven Inlet - 1:00 pm
Trip #10Princess Anne/Munden - 1:10 pm
Trip #11Seashore - 1:20 pm
Saturday, February 4
Trip #12CBBT and Eastern Shore - 6:00 am
Trip #13Eastern Shore and CBBT - 6:00 am
Trip #14Pelagic Trip - TBA
Half-day morning
Trip #15Great Dismal Swamp - 6:15 am
Trip #16Mackay Island - 6:30 am
Trip #17Back Bay - 6:45 am
Trip #18Craney Island - 7:00 am
Half-day afternoon
Trip #19Great Dismal Swamp - 12:50 pm
Trip #20Mackay Island - 1:00 pm
Trip #21Princess Anne/Munden - 1:10 pm
Trip #22Craney Island - 1:20 pm
Sunday, February 5
Trip #23Weekend Hot Spots—TBA
Trips 1, 12.
CBBT and Eastern Shore (Photo ID required on CBBT). This trip includes birding the four islands of the CBBT in the morning and continuing northward in the afternoon to sites on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, including stops at Eastern Shore NWR, Kiptopeke State Park, and several Cape Charles sites.

This trip should yield Brant, Harlequin and Long-tailed Ducks, all three species of scoters, King Eider, Great Cormorant, and possibly rare gulls such as Little Gull. Wildlife refuges and harbors north of the CBBT may yield additional prizes. Foraging flocks of kinglets, chickadees, woodpeckers, creepers, and nuthatches may be found in woodland habitats. Many species of wintering sparrows will be found in nearby fields. Marshland may yield Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows, plus Sedge Wrens.

Due to security policy, birding on the CBBT requires payment of additional fees and is governed by strict rules. Be sure to pre-register as early as possible by mailing the pre-registration form plus an additional, non-refundable fee of $25 (cost per participant for van, gas, CBBT toll, and CBBT security guard). Space is limited to approximately 45 birders. CBBT security policy requires each participant to complete and sign the form. Once pre-registered for one of the four vans, participants may not switch days or vans and refunds, substitutions, and additions cannot be accommodated.

Breakfast is on your own; however, a quick breakfast will be available at the CBBT coffee shop on Island 1 (opens 7 am). Bring your own lunch and beverages.

Trips 2, 13.
Eastern Shore and CBBT (Photo ID required on CBBT). These trips are mirror images of trips 1 & 12. Birding will start at Cape Charles in early morning and move south to the CBBT for the afternoon. Pre-registration and other requirements are the same as above. Breakfast is on your own; however, we will stop at McDonald's in Cape Charles. Bring your own lunch and beverages.
Trips 3, 14.
Pelagic Trips. Brian Patteson will offer pelagic trips out to the Norfolk Canyon, over 60 miles offshore, from Virginia Beach on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will serve as the weather date for both trips. Based on previous history, birds may include: Northern Fulmar, Iceland Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Dovekie, Razorbill, and Atlantic Puffin, plus, the possibility of a Great Skua. Details on departure location and time and breakfast locations will be announced later. Each trip is limited to 27 participants. The additional cost per participant is $125, with the possibility of a fuel adjustment to be added later if required due to fuel cost increases.
Trips 4, 8.
South Chesapeake. This trip features stops along the South Chesapeake loop of the birding trail, including Oak Grove Lake Park, Chesapeake Arboretum, North Landing River Natural Area, and Northwest River Park. Oak Grove Lake makes up about half of the park and the remainder includes dense growth pines, maples, and tulip poplars. North Landing River contains 3,000+ acres of riverside marsh, swamp, and forest. A short trail winds through wet hardwood forests and swamps and culminates at tidal marshes on the scenic black-water river. The Arboretum consists of gardens and the farmhouse headquarters building, plus woodlands and mulched trails. Northwest River Park wildlife watching opportunities feature forests interspersed with wetlands, swampy ponds, and open lake edges. The Deer Island Trail is good for birding.
Trips 5, 17.
Back Bay. This trip includes Back Bay NWR, Little Island/Lotus Gardens Parks, and False Cape State Park. These sites are located on a barrier island, flanked by the ocean and the fresh water bay and contain beaches, dunes, woodland, wooded swamps, maritime forests, farm fields, and marsh. Nearly 300 species of birds have been observed here and, in winter, it is the only reliable site in Virginia for LeConte's sparrow. The best LeConte's site, however, is a 10-mile round trip hike for birding on your own.
Trips 6, 11.
Seashore (Photo ID required on Fort Story). First Landing State Park, Fort Story/Cape Henry, and other ocean and inlet sites are included on this trip. First Landing features beach, large dunes, upland forest, tidal marsh, cypress swamp, and a maritime forest community. Several miles of trails include a boardwalk through the cypress swamp. At Fort Story, boardwalks provide overlooks to Cape Henry Beach. The old and new Cape Henry Lighthouses are also on this site. The Cape Henry Lighthouse was the first public building authorized by the new federal government in 1789.
Trip 7.
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. This site contains a museum, aquarium, and an interpreted wetland trail on the banks of Owls Creek. An elevated tower and several decks extend out over the water and marsh. A boardwalk meanders through woodlands. A staff member will conduct a before-hours bird walk and visit to their aviary. The remainder of the museum/center will open at 9 am. An admission fee of $8.50 per person is required if you choose to stay and view the other attractions. Rudee Inlet and other nearby sites may be visited if time permits.
Trip 9.
Lynnhaven Inlet. This trip visits an area near the Lesner Bridge that allows access to Lynnhaven Bay and Inlet. There is a trail past small lakes that usually have a nice variety of waders, waterfowl, and shorebirds, plus sparrows and raptors along the trail.
Trips 10, 21.
Princess Anne WMA/Munden Point Park. Princess Anne's Whitehurst Tract is a patchwork of marshes, weedy and cultivated fields, narrow freshwater impoundments, and pine woodland. Because of the mixed character of the habitat, this area includes lots of woodland edge where birds are plentiful. Munden Point Park was formerly a famous waterfowl hunting site. It is now an excellent site for naturalists featuring low swampy woodlands, a creek, forests of tall pine and sweet gum, and the borders of salt marshes. This trip should be great for raptors, sparrows, and waterfowl.
Trips 15, 19.
Great Dismal Swamp NWR. This Audubon IBA contains over 100,000 acres of forested wetlands and includes Lake Drummond, the home of thousands of waterfowl each winter. Wildlife activity abounds. Bear cubs are born in late January through February. Great Horned Owls incubate eggs in late January and February. Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks begin to court and lay eggs. Wood Ducks pair up and search for nest cavities. We will bird the boardwalk area and a portion of the Washington Ditch trail and drive to Lake Drummond if the Railroad Ditch road is open.
Trips 16, 20.
Mackay Island NWR. This refuge is found in the northern portion of Currituck Sound and the southern portion of Back Bay on a peninsula which juts into the Sound. Habitats include freshwater and brackish marsh, upland and lowland pine/ hardwood forest, and cropland. Mackay is home to over 180 species of birds and is especially known for concentrations of over-wintering ducks, geese, swan, raptors, wading birds, and shorebirds. An active Wood Duck breeding population is present. The afternoon trip (#20) will return late to the hotel due to a planned viewing of a portion of the swan/geese fly-in. The return, however, will be prior to that night's meeting.
Trips 18, 22.
Craney Island. Craney Island is a man-made spoils site. It is divided into six sections that are filled with dredged material on a rotating basis; therefore, the sections have various amounts of water in them so a wide variety of waterfowl, along with many species of shorebirds may be seen. Waterfowl include sea, dabbling, and bay ducks. Large rafts of Ruddy Duck and Horned Grebe may be present. Rough-legged Hawk and Short-eared Owl may be found hunting rodents in the interior. Craney is the top spot in coastal Virginia for finding Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. Much of the birding here is done from (or very near) the car, so little walking is required. Time permitting, this trip will also include Hoffler Creek WMA.
Trip 23.
Weekend Hot Spots. One or more Sunday trips will be planned on Saturday afternoon based on findings for the first two days. Trips may be planned as a destination along the route back to the Carolinas.

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