Outer Banks Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions
|Friday, January 25||Saturday, January 26|
|Half-day Morning||Half-day Morning|
|Half-day Afternoon||Half-day Afternoon|
Outer Banks Meeting Field Trip Descriptions
- Trips 1, 7, 16 & 24 - Palmetto Peartree Preserve and Alligator River NWR
Plan for about a one hour drive to “P3” as it is known
by the locals. We will look among the seven species of
woodpeckers present for the endangered Red-cockaded
Woodpecker. During our search we should
see a good assortment of woodland and edge species
including kinglets, warblers, nuthatches, and sparrows.
Red-shouldered Hawk is likely, and Barred Owl and
Bald Eagle are real possibilities. Learn more about P3
by visiting www.palmettopeartree.org. After birding
P3, the group will drive through Alligator River NWR
searching primarily for raptors and sparrows, although
many species will be possible, including waterfowl
and shorebirds. This refuge may be the best place in
the state to find Ash-throated Flycatcher. Black Bears,
Bobcats and Red Wolves are a possibility also.
Note: lots of birds but few restrooms in this part of the world, but they can be found (Visitor's Center on Roanoke Island, service station at western end of Alligator River bridge, and porta-johns at entrance to Milltail Road in Alligator River NWR.)
- Trips 2, 8 & 17- Pea Island NWR, North and South Ponds
- Caravan down to the entrance area of South Pond where drivers will carefully park along the roadside. If you get there in advance of the guide, wait by the road. We will scan flocks of common birds hoping for such species as Eurasian Wigeon, American Avocet, Marbled Godwit, American Bittern, and American White Pelican. In the grassy strips and in the shrub edges along the way, we should find sparrows and warblers. After leaving South Pond, we will visit nearby North Pond to continue our search. This area has seen quite a few rarities over the years, including Glaucous Gull, California Gull, Hudsonian Godwit, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Cave Swallow, and Brewer's Blackbird, just to name a few. Anything is a possibility at Pea Island! We'll scope the ocean across from the Visitor's Center for sea birds. Last time, a Sora was an easy find under the feeders. If time permits, we may stop by Oregon Inlet or Bodie Island on the trip back. A spotting scope comes in quite handy in these areas. Even in January, mosquito protection may be advisable.
- Trips 3, 9 & 18 - Pea Island NWR, Bodie Island and Oregon Inlet
- At the north end of Pea Island is the Oregon Inlet and the Bonner Bridge. We'll check the inlet out to the rock groin, looking for species that include Great Cormorant, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Piping Plover, Glaucous Gull, “Ipswich” Sparrow, Razorbill and many more. This is “hallowed ground” to birders and many rarities have shown up here over the years. On the north side of the bridge is the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, where we will scope the inlet for Long-tailed Duck and other diving ducks. Common Eiders and Brant have been seen here as well. We'll continue on to Bodie Lighthouse Pond where we will scope for waterfowl, shorebirds, and waders from the new observation platform. Eurasian Wigeon and Cinnamon Teal have been seen here. The boardwalk that cuts through the marsh is good for rails and marsh wrens.
- Trips 4 & 22 - Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary and Points North
- This trip will afford CBC members an introduction to this 2,600-acre site on the Currituck Sound. Mark Buckler, Director of the Sanctuary, will be the trip leader and guide. We will explore this former hunting mecca for waterfowl, shorebirds, marsh birds and raptors—Bald Eagle is a distinct possibility. Afterwards, we'll head north and bird around the Currituck Lighthouse and N.C. Center for Wildlife Education. A boardwalk will take us to the edge of Currituck Sound where we will scan for waders, shorebirds, terns and waterfowl. King Rails and other marsh birds are a possibility. The forest edge can be good for overwintering passerines as well. Time permitting, we may scan the nearby ocean for scoters, loons and grebes. If you have not ever birded this area of the Outer Banks, this field trip will provide an experience you will be able to use in your future trips to the Banks.
- Trips 5, 11, 19 & 25 - Roanoke Island
- We'll begin at the north end of the island where we will search the woodland edges for winter species such as Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper, White-throated Sparrow, and hope to turn up over-wintering warblers. Ovenbird, Northern Parula, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warblers have all been seen in recent winters, as have Baltimore Oriole, Painted Bunting and Western Kingbird! Wintering Ruby-throated Hummingbirds should be present as well. After that, we will visit the Roanoke Marshes Game Lands in search of saltmarsh species such as Marsh Wren, Seaside Sparrow, and Clapper and Virginia Rail. The freshwater impoundment should hold a few shorebirds and waterfowl for us to view, along with Belted Kingfisher and a raptor or two. Then we will stop by the harbor in Wanchese Village at the south end of the island and scan the surrounding sound and marina for gulls, loons, grebes, and diving ducks. Wear comfortable shoes because you are going to cover a lot of ground on this field trip.
- Trips 6, 10, 21 & 26 - Nags Head Ocean Watch
- A scope is essential for this trip to scan the Atlantic for the winter birds that feast on the bounty of the ocean. If you don't have a scope, there should be plenty in the group. Your leader will select some premium locations from which to watch the action, including Jennette's Pier. Loons, grebes, scoters and other sea ducks, gulls, gannets and many more are on the menu.
- Trips 12 & 28 - Mattamuskeet NWR
- A birder's paradise, Mattamuskeet can be incredible at times. One of the best spots in the state for Golden Eagle, we will bird the Lake Landing area for Tundra Swans and other waterfowl, shorebirds and waders, sorting through the more common species and hoping for something rare, such as Cackling Goose, Ross's Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, or “Common” Teal. American White Pelicans have been seen here several times in recent winters. There is a good chance we will be allowed access to some of the off-limit areas. We will also bird along the causeway, famous for its overwintering passerines. In just the past few winters the causeway has hosted at least 13 species of warblers, including Ovenbird, Black-throated Blue, Yellow and Nashville. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Baltimore Orioles are to be expected, and recently an Ash-throated Flycatcher and Bell's Vireo turned up. A Black-headed Gull is present most years, too, usually seen near one of the culverts that pass under the road. Side trips on the way back to the coast may include Stumpy Point Bay and Alligator River NWR.
- Trips 13 & 29 - Hatteras Point, Hatteras Island, Pea Island
- Local guides will rendezvous with the CBC party at the lighthouse parking lot. We will cover the Point Campground, the Salt Pond and the beach, sorting through the gull flocks in search of Thayer's, Iceland, Glaucous and California Gulls. Lesser Black-backed Gulls should be common. Peregrine Falcon is often seen out here as well. We will scan the ocean for loons, grebes, scoters and other water birds, hoping for alcids or other rarities. Common Eider, Black-headed and Little Gulls and Eared Grebe are also possibilities. Last time we had great looks at Iceland Gull, Dovekie, and Razorbill. The salt pond usually hosts good populations of birds. Snow Buntings and Horned Larks could show up, and a Sprague's Pipit was seen here once, not far from the salt pond. Your leader will plan some side trips on the way back depending on what has been seen that morning at points north. Please note: We will be walking to Hatteras Point, about two miles round trip. There should be packed sand.
- Trips 14 & 30 - Pocosin Lakes NWR
- Pocosin Lakes is famous for huge flocks of Snow Geese in winter. We will search through them for Cackling, Ross's, and Greater White-fronted Geese. Red-winged Blackbird flocks can number in the thousands, a spectacle in itself. We will look through them with hopes of spotting a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Overhead, we'll keep an eye out for Golden Eagles—this is one of the most reliable spots in the state for these awesome birds. Other possibilities include other waterfowl and farm field and edge species, such as sparrows, pipits and Horned Larks. Lots and lots of territory to cover on this trip with potential side trips on the way back.
- Trip 15 - Bird Photography Workshop
- Join featured speaker, Mark Buckler, on a photography outing to Pea Island NWR. Mark will share some of his in-the-field techniques for capturing great bird images. It is recommended that you bring a camera with a telephoto lens of 300mm or more. Non-photographers may join this trip, but Mark will focus most of his instruction with those participants with cameras. We may explore other nearby areas based on the presence of particular birds at that time of year.
- Trip 20 - The Conflict Between Nature and Humans on Pea Island
- If you've wanted to look at Pea Island from an ecological viewpoint, here's your chance. Dr. Stan Riggs, a coastal and marine biologist, and one of our featured speakers, will lead this trip to the area. We'll look at the conflict between the natural dynamics of change on a barrier island and the human efforts to stop these dynamics, and the resulting effect on critical wildlife habitat. How do we value wildlife habitat vs. coastal development, and do we have better alternatives than those being carried out?
- Trips 23 Pea Island NWR Hot Spots
- This trip will cover Bodie Island, Oregon Inlet and North Pond, but not South Pond. The leader will cover areas that have proven the best, judged by what has been found. It could likely be all three areas. See area descriptions in Trips 2 and 3.
- Trips 27 - The second CBC Round Up!
Basic rules (that may well be adjusted before the
- Four person teams are made up of different levels of birding ability
- Teams are made up by the CBC meeting planner and the chief judge
- Each team may use only one vehicle
- A “shotgun” start means the team picks where they begin
- The start time is 1:15 PM
- The CBC Daily Field Check List will be used as a scorecard
- One point per species per birder on the team, four points if all team members make the sighting
- All members of the team have to turn in their card to the chief judge at or before 5:00 PM
- Any ties will be broken by how early the card was turned in
- Speeding tickets or citations for entering a restricted area are grounds for disqualification
- No score cards accepted after 5:00 PM!
Registration form note: Birding Levels For the CBC Round Up Contest—Please indicate your level when completing the registration form to sign up for Trip 27.
- Level 1:
- Recognizes most/all species in all plumages (breeding, winter, juvenile). Can identify chip notes and calls as well as songs. Knows species' habitat and behavior. Is familiar with the various venues in the target area and often leads field trips.
- Level 2:
- Knows breeding and winter plumage of most species and can identify some juveniles. Can identify songs and many calls. Knows the habitat of most species and the more unique behaviors. Occasionally leads field trips.
- Level 3:
- Knows breeding plumage of most species and can usually identify birds in non-breeding plumage with the help of a field guide. Has a general familiarity with the habitat of bird families (gulls, terns, waterfowl, warblers, woodpeckers, etc). Finds the bird's behavior not often helpful in identification.
- Level 4:
- Still developing basic identification skills. Less experienced at identification of coastal birds. Enthusiastic, if not highly skilled, birder.
PLEASE NOTE. The area around South Pond on Pea Island is restricted at all times. We will be able to bird it only with authorized personnel, but only if you are on the CBC trip. It is off-limits to all others. Also, there are areas on the east end of Lake Mattamuskeet that are off-limits, except on one of our trips.
Please pack a lunch for the all-day trips. Restrooms are available on all trips.