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Virginia Beach is for Bird Lovers
February 3–5, 2006

By John Ennis and Kim Horstman

Join us in Virginia Beach and on the lower Eastern Shore for our 2006 winter meeting. It includes trips to the islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT), Back Bay NWR, Great Dismal Swamp NWR, Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR, First Landing State Park, Kiptopeke State Park, Princess Anne WMA, Mackay Island NWR, and more.

Headquarters will be the Ramada Plaza Resort Oceanfront at Oceanfront and 57th Street (map) (1-800-365-3032, Oceanfront rooms are $68 and regular rooms are $60; both have a mini refrigerator and microwave. The cutoff date for reservations is January 2; however, they will honor rates based on availability thereafter. Please tell Ramada reservations you are associated with the CBC.

Registration for the meeting begins Thursday night, February 2, from 6-9 pm at the Ramada.

The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum will host an open house for the CBC on Thursday night from 7-9 pm. A decoy carver will be on hand for demonstrations and light refreshments will be served. The museum is at 12th & Atlantic Avenue (map), three miles from our hotel. Additional parking is available at the Raven Restaurant. There are a number of good restaurants, including the Raven, in the immediate area.

Our featured speaker for the Friday evening meeting at the Ramada will be Brian Patteson, reviewing the awesome 2005 pelagic birding year. The Friday night meeting begins at 7:30 pm.

Our featured speakers for the Saturday evening meeting will be Judy Fieth and Michael Male, of Blue Earth Films ( "A Year in the Desert" will show the filming, at Bitter Lake NWR in New Mexico, of a bird-filled film for the refuge's new visitor center. Their talk will be based on highlights from three seasons of filming at the refuge, where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the short grass prairie.

The Saturday night meeting will begin at 7 pm with a review of our observations and compilation of the final birding checklist, followed at 7:30 by the program.

Sites to visit on your own include the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard (map). This site is on the birding trail and is included as a CBC trip; however, the group rate of $8.50 is good all day Friday for CBC members.

If you are interested in the unique opportunity to bird the CBBT, be sure to pre-register as soon as possible. Also, commit early for the pelagic trips.

Our friends in the Virginia Beach Audubon Society and Back Bay Bird Club have assisted with trip planning. Executive Committee members John Ennis and Kim Horstman are serving as CBC meeting coordinators.

Virginia Beach is not as far as you might think: 3 hours from Raleigh, 6 from Charlotte, 6 from Columbia, and 7 from Asheville and Charleston. Definitely worth the trip!

Additional information for most sites may be found on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail website. (click on the Coastal link). You can monitor the Virginia birding listserv for up-to-date sightings.