Register Now For Outer Banks Winter Meeting
The Outer Banks in January provide some of the best birding in North Carolina. Our winter meeting will be in Nags Head on the 25th and 26th. We hope to break the 186 species mark from our last meeting there. Our list had such notables as Dovekie, American Bittern, Iceland Gull, Razorbill, Rough-legged and Swainson's Hawks, Ross's and Cackling Geese, and a very cooperative Sora that made the Pea Island feeder area its spot for the weekend. Our list included 24 ducks, 19 shorebirds, 12 sparrows, 11 gulls, 6 rails, 5 owls, and a partridge in a pear tree!
All the favorite Outer Banks spots will be featured in our trips. These include Pea Island NWR, Cape Hatteras Point, Oregon Inlet, Pine Island Sanctuary, and Bodie Island. A little further inland we'll go to Mattamuskeet, Alligator River and Pocosin Lakes NWRs. Another great spot is anywhere on the beach, as the ocean will hold sea ducks, loons, gannets, gulls and hopefully some surprises. Dovekies and Razorbills were numerous last time and could turn up anywhere.
Please note: South Pond on Pea Island is off-limits at all times. We will have access for this meeting only, and only if you are on the specified trip. No one is allowed in that area at any other time. Also, certain impoundments around Lake Mattamuskeet are off limits and have signs posting such. We will have access to some of the off-limit areas on one or both of our trips, but, again, access is only for those signed up.
Our “roost” for the meeting will be the Comfort Inn South at 8031 Old Oregon Inlet Road. It was just completely renovated, with new paint, carpet, furniture and flat screen televisions. All rooms have a microwave, a refrigerator and WIFI. Oceanfront rooms with one king or two doubles are $65, plus tax. Non-oceanfront rooms with one queen or two doubles are $55, plus tax. This includes a hot breakfast buffet, served in a room just for meeting participants. For reservations, call 252-441-6315. Be sure to tell them you're with the CBC for the special rate.
Our Friday night speaker is Dr. Stanley Riggs, a coastal and marine biologist. His presentation will be “Battle For North Carolina's Coastal System”. He'll talk about the various aspects of human development and its consequences on critical wildlife habitat, and how it affects threatened and endangered birds, turtles, fish and other animals. To accentuate his program, he'll lead a trip on Saturday morning to the Pea Island area. There he'll show you the escalating conflicts over bridges, highways, inlets and shoreline erosion and how this is resulting in the functional loss of an important national bird refuge and its wildlife habitat.
Saturday evening will start with our dinner buffet. The cost is $24 and will have a vegetarian entree. The program is by our own Mark Buckler, a wildlife biologist and Director of the Pine Island Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Corolla. Mark is also a highly acclaimed professional photographer. His work has received hundreds of publication credits and many awards, and can be found in several galleries. His recent book, Coastal Wild—Among the Untamed Outer Banks, has received outstanding reviews. He will present some of his work and explain the creative process that went into these spectacular images. As an added bonus, he'll offer a photography workshop as one of the trips.
For non-birding spouses, and those who may need a break, the area has many interesting places to visit. The Wright Brothers National Monument is just up the road. There are several lighthouses, including Cape Hatteras, Bodie and Corolla. Historic Manteo, the Elizabethan Gardens, Jockey's Ridge State Park and the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island are just a short drive.
On Saturday afternoon, we will have the Second CBC Round-up. This is where teams of 4 people with different skill levels go out to find all the species they can between 1:15 and 5:00. When signing up, you will rate yourself from the level of “I can name birds in my sleep” to “Are you telling me that birds fly?”. Points are given for how many of the team see the birds, so it will be a team effort. The official guidelines are laid out in the Field Trip section. We'll try to have someone in each group who knows the area. This is a great way to bird and learn in a small group.
We hope you'll join us for this wonderful birding experience at the Outer Banks. With any luck, you'll go home with a lifer or two on your list. Even if you don't, it promises to be a great weekend.