Register Now for the CBC Winter Meeting in Southport, NC!
The Carolina Bird Club winter meeting will be held in Southport, NC in the lower Cape Fear River area (which includes Wilmington, NC) January 27–28th, 2012. Registration will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 26th at the Wingate Hotel in Southport. The CBC, and specifically the CBC Southport planning team, extend a warm welcome to members and guests to join us for a fun-filled weekend of birding.
Southport offers some of the state's top winter coastal birding sites and often leads NC and SC in species seen on Christmas Bird Counts. With the meeting less than a month after the local Count, we'll hope to see most of the species recorded!
Look for a variety of field trips, interesting speakers, some in-the-hotel TV presentations, and additional information on birding the general area if birding Friday and Saturday isn't enough for you!
We plan to visit sites near the host hotel and also range to well-known sites including Ft. Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Bald Head Island, Carolina Beach State Park, Oak Island, Airlie Gardens, Sunset Beach, Brunswick Town, Boiling Springs, and Greenfield Lake. (And there are other trips too!) Details for all the field trips are included inside this issue.
You'll have many interesting habitat choices with the field trips. Ocean-watching for all three American scoter species and the hope of a rare grebe or sea duck, shorebird sites, maritime forests with warblers like Orange-crowned, parks and fields with winter sparrows, Longleaf and Loblolly pine forests where the target birds include Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow, and maybe a Henslow's Sparrow. Add to this marshes, lakes, and a trip to recently burned pine forest. So many choices!
Our host hotel is the three-year-old eco-friendly Wingate Hotel in Southport. Discounted rates for the hotel have dropped since the last Newsletter. King or two-Queen beds are now $77.00 plus tax. Call (910) 454-0086 and mention booking code CGBIRD to obtain this rate. The rate should be available up to three weeks prior to the meeting date. After this time, rooms may be available at prevailing rates. The Wingate is located at 1511 North Howe Street in Southport (NC Highway 211).
Included with our discounted rate is a hot breakfast, which will start at 5 a.m. The breakfast has a hotel cook who restocks items including eggs and breakfast meats. Rooms include complimentary WiFi. The one thing the hotel doesn't have is a large meeting room. We'll be heading a few blocks towards the Cape Fear River for our Friday and Saturday nights' activities.
Our Friday night speaker will be Mark Buckler. I'm sure many of you know that Mark is our new Vice President for Eastern NC. Mark will begin by describing what's going on with the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary and Center where he is the director. Mark will then launch into his main presentation on wildlife photography.
Saturday night's speaker is Walker Golder, Deputy Director of Audubon NC. A native of the NC coast, Walker grew up exploring the marshes, tidal creeks, and beaches near his home on Wrightsville Beach. Walker was hired by Audubon as the first manager of the newly-created North Carolina Coastal Islands Sanctuary program. Under his management, the program has grown to 21 locations protecting tens of thousands of birds and their habitats. Walker will be speaking about the numerous sanctuaries here in coastal NC.
Something a little different for Southport will be in-the-host-hotel videos. One video that will be featured is from Dr. Douglas Tallamy who has authored a book, Bringing Nature Home. The book's theme is the use of native plants in landscaping so that our declining song bird population can begin to thrive again. The video of Dr. Tallamy's talk is on the same topic. He gives examples, both numerically and visually, to support the importance of native plant use, and does so in an extremely entertaining manner. We may also make other “fun” bird related videos available. Who knows, you may get to watch March of the Penguins with some new or old friends if the weather is inclement or you've got a little down time!
If your Friday or Saturday field trip is all day, we recommend you carry your lunch. Registration packets will contain directions to the locations of the field trips offered during the course of the weekend. Some local reference books are recommended. The North Carolina Birding Trail—Coastal Plain Trail Guide can be used to study up on the Southport area sites you will be visiting. Falcon Press's Birding North Carolina and John Fussell's A Birder's Guide to Coastal North Carolina are standards for birding this area of North Carolina. You can also check out this website (http://www.carolinabirdclub.org/birdingnc/) where descriptions of several of the sites we'll visit are listed with more detail than can be described in this article.
“Pack-a-sack”, introduced at a recent meeting, will again be held at the Southport meeting. You'll have the opportunity to put some snacks in zipper bags if you attend the Friday night event. The local Cape Fear Audubon Society sponsors this activity.
Including young field trip leaders will also be a focus in Southport. Hopefully there will be two college-age students leading field trips. Also, Daniel Hueholt, a high school student from Wilmington, will be leading some of our trips. If you're lucky enough to be on one of our “young gun” led trips you'll hopefully be caught up with their enthusiasm.
The CBC will hold our usual buffet dinner on Saturday evening beginning at 6:30. Advance reservations are required for attending the dinner in order to facilitate planning. The buffet cost is $25 per person, including tax and gratuities, which is due with your meeting registration. Please note that Sunday, January 22, 2012 is the last date for any refunds for registration or dinner cancellations. There are three entrée choices listed on the registration page to choose from. Choices are roast beef, ham, or chicken salad. Side dishes for the Saturday evening dinner include herb red potatoes, steamed asparagus, yeast rolls, dessert, tea, and coffee.
Winter CBC meetings on the coast can include some inclement weather. We can only hope for the sunny skies and reasonable temperatures that often occur, but be prepared for anything.
Please direct any questions or concerns about this meeting to John Voigt via email.
To conclude, I'm hoping that you'll attend the first-ever CBC meeting in Southport. It's a special setting that our club has never been able to come to before, mainly because of facility issues for a group our size. The main issue, a suitable hotel, has been solved with the recently built Wingate Hotel. Hope to see you there!