Williamston, North Carolina Hosts the Winter 2009 Meeting
January 30–February 1, 2009
Make your plans now to join birders from across the Carolinas in Williamston, North Carolina for the 2009 winter CBC meeting scheduled for January 30th to February 1st. Many birders may only know of Williamston as the first major place east of Rocky Mount to stop for gasoline and sustenance while on the way to the Outer Banks, but for those who slow down and look, the "Inner Banks" of North Carolina's Coastal Plain offer excellent birding opportunities and a few surprises. One way to visit some of the area's offerings is to make use of the recently published North Carolina Birding Trail's "Coast" guide, and the winter meeting will do just that, visiting a number of Birding Trail locations.
Field trips to a variety of habitats should produce a pleasing list of wintering and resident passerines, waders, waterfowl, and raptors. Spectacular numbers of feeding and roosting waterfowl may be encountered on trips visiting Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and one of the largest aggregations of Bald Eagles in the Carolinas may await those on trips to the Vernon James Research Station. In addition to a variety of traditional birding field trips, the CBC is very excited to be able to offer trips to the fascinating Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park & Eco-Center (corrected link) where visitors can take a tour of the world's waterfowl without leaving the Carolinas!
Headquarters for the meeting will be the Holiday Inn Williamston at 101 East Boulevard. Their telephone number for reservations is 252-792-3184 (800-792- 3101). The special CBC meeting rate is $72.50 per night plus 13% tax double occupancy. This rate includes a full, hot buffet breakfast beginning at 6 a.m. Friday and 5:30 a.m. Saturday. These times ensure you'll have a chance to tuck in to a hearty breakfast before departing on the day's field trips. All rooms include microwave, fridge and coffee pot as well as hair dryers and irons.
While registering for the meeting, why not also make plans to join fellow Club members for the now traditional group buffet dinner Saturday night? Featuring three entrees, salad, vegetables, and vegetarian options, the price of the meal will be $20/person including tip and tax, and sign-up for the dinner may be done on the enclosed registration form. The Moratoc Restaurant at the Holiday Inn has been called the "best place to eat in Williamston", so join us for dinner to see if you agree.
Saturday night we are fortunate to have two North Carolina State University graduate students as our speakers. Neil Chartier has received a CBC grant to further his research on Swainson's Warbler breeding biology at the Roanoke River NWR, and Amelia Savage will report on her work with Swainson's Warbler diet and foraging habits as well as site fidelity and age demographics at the Woodbury Wildlife Management Area along the Great Pee Dee River in South Carolina. Both researchers are sure to give us some clues on where to find Swainson's Warblers since they are one of the most secretive and least understood Neotropical migrant species of the southeastern United States.
On Friday night, the Martin County Tourism Development Authority will host a dessert reception at Moratoc Park prior to a talk by Refuge Biologist Jean Richter. Some of the highest bird diversity in North America is found in the bottomland hardwood forest communities of the southeastern U.S. The Roanoke River floodplain has been cited as having the largest, intact, least-disturbed bottomland forest on the mid-Atlantic coast. Its floodplain forests rival many of those found along the Atlantic coast and in the Mississippi Alluvia Valley. Jean will discuss the ecology that makes the Roanoke River an important place for birds along with past and present conservation efforts on the river.
The inclusion of trips for non-birding members and guests is a first for a CBC meeting, and we hope you will enjoy some of the offerings. Historic sites abound in the region, and non-birding spouses/companions have a special invitation from the towns of Plymouth, Edenton and the Martin County Tourism Development Authority to participate in planned, guided outings. Destinations will include the beautiful reconstruction of the historic Roanoke River Lighthouse and Maritime Museum in Plymouth and a tour of historic Edenton. In Martin County, the Historic Hope Plantation, Fort Branch Civil War site and other hidden treasures will provide interesting excursions.
Those wishing to extend their time in the region will also find several bonus trips further east at Pea Island, Alligator River, and Lake Mattamuskeet, while those driving up I-95 may wish to stop at Howell Woods for a birding break along the way. Please note that participation on the bonus trips is not included in the meeting fee, and each carries a separate, but nominal fee. Registration for the bonus trips can be made on the enclosed form, and meeting registration is not required to participate.
With participant limits on all field trips, like the early bird getting the worm, early registration will give you the best chance for your first choice, so make your plans now, and we'll see you in Williamston!