About the Club

Mission Statement

The Carolina Bird Club is a non-profit organization that represents and supports the birding community in the Carolinas through its website, publications, meetings, workshops, trips, and partnerships, whose mission is

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The Carolina Bird Club, Inc., is a non-profit educational and scientific association open to anyone interested in the study and conservation of wildlife, particularly birds.

The Club meets each winter, spring, and fall at different locations in the Carolinas. Meeting sites are selected to give participants an opportunity to see many different kinds of birds. Guided field trips and informative programs are combined for an exciting weekend of meeting with people who share an enthusiasm and concern for birds.

The Club offers research grants in avian biology for undergraduate and graduate students, and scholarships for young birders.

The Club publishes two print publications (now also available online). The Chat is a quarterly ornithological journal that contains scientific articles, reports of bird records committees and bird counts, and general field notes on bird sightings. CBC Newsletter is published bimonthly and includes birding articles and information about meetings, field trips, and Club news.

The Club provides this website to all for free.

By becoming a member, you support the activities of the Club, receive reduced registration fee for meetings, can participate in bonus field trips, and receive our publications.

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Meeting info
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Wrightsville Beach Field Trip Schedule and Descriptions

Friday, January 24 Saturday, January 25
All-day All-day
Trip #1Oak Island and Ft. Caswell–6:30
Trip #2Bald Head Island–6:45
Trip #3Holly Shelter and Topsail Beach–6:30
Trip #4Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.–6:45
Trip #5Southport and Boiling Springs Lakes–7:00
Trip #6Brunswick Nature Park, Orton Lake, Funston Farm–7:00
Trip #19Oak Island and Ft. Caswell–6:30
Trip #20Bald Head Island–6:45
Trip #21Holly Shelter and Topsail Beach–6:30
Trip #22Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.–6:45
Trip #23Southport and Boiling Springs Lakes–7:00
Trip #24Brunswick Nature Park, Orton Lake, Funston Farm–7:00
Half-day Morning Half-day Morning
Trip #7Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.–7:00
Trip #8Wrightsville Beach and Piers–6:45
Trip #9Airlie Gardens–8:00
Trip #10Greenfield Lake and Hotspots -7:15
Trip #11Carolina Beach State Park–7:30
Trip #12The Rail Express–6:30
Trip #25Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.–7:00
Trip #26Wrightsville Beach and Piers–6:45
Trip #27Airlie Gardens–8:00
Trip #28Greenfield Lake and Hotspots -7:15
Trip #29Carolina Beach State Park–7:30
Trip #30The Rail Express–6:30
Half-day Afternoon Half-day Afternoon
Trip #13Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.- 1:00
Trip #14Wrightsville Beach and Piers–1:00
Trip #15Carolina Beach State Park–1:00
Trip #16Airlie Gardens–1:15
Trip #17Greenfield Lake and Hotspots–1:15
Trip #18Ev Henwood Nature Preserve–1:15
Trip #31Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.- 1:00
Trip #32Wrightsville Beach and Piers–1:00
Trip #33Carolina Beach State Park–1:00
Trip #34Airlie Gardens–1:15
Trip #35Greenfield Lake and Hotspots–1:15
Trip #36Ev Henwood Nature Preserve–1:15

Wrightsville Beach Meeting Field Trip Descriptions

Trips 1, 19: Oak Island and Ft. Caswell
From the beachfront of Caswell Beach to the lawns of Ft. Caswell and on to the salt marshes and woods of Fish Factory Road, participants will be treated to a broad mixture of seabirds, shorebirds, raptors, sparrows, winter songbirds, ducks, waders, terns, and gulls. This route, borrowed from the Southport Christmas Count, is very productive and usually yields a few surprises! Time permitting and if accessible, a quick stop at the Yaupon Beach Pier may be included. Individuals will be charged $5 for a grounds pass at the Fort. There is a lot of walking on this trip.
(Restrooms and lunch places are available)
Trips 2, 20: Bald Head Island
Bald Head Island offers a fun day with more than just birds to look at. There is a 20-minute ferry ride, views of the wonderful homes on the island, and both the Cape Fear River basin and the ocean to view. The birding in winter can be very interesting. Northern Gannets are seen over the ocean, and there is always the possibility for scoters and the occasional jaeger. In the wooded areas of the island you can look for an Orange-crowned Warbler or Blue-headed Vireo. Bald Head Island has an environment unlike other places in North Carolina. Cabbage Palmettos are common and this is their northern limit. The flora and fauna of the island are similar to the coastal areas of South Carolina. The island also features the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, fondly called Old Baldy. There are additional costs associated with this field trip, and attendees will be responsible for paying for their ferry ride, cart fees, and parking fees on the day of the trip. The current round trip ferry cost is $24.75 per person. Parking at the ferry terminal is $8 per car (less per person if you carpool). Golf carts will be rented as it's a three mile walk to the birding locales. Each participant should budget between $15 and $16 for the golf cart fees.
(Restrooms available and limited restaurant options)
Trips 3, 21: Holly Shelter Game Lands and Topsail Beach
This trip will focus on longleaf pine–wiregrass habitats within the Holly Shelter Game Land. We should find Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and there is a good chance of finding one or more Bachman's Sparrows, even though they become very secretive and mouselike in the cooler months. Maybe we will get lucky and find a Henslow's Sparrow, although finding this species will be more of a long shot. Walking in these habitats is fairly easy but, especially if there have been recent rains, it may be wet. Participants should be prepared for some wet spots with up to an inch of water. Additionally, we will be checking the beaches at nearby Topsail Island in the afternoon.
(Limited restroom availability except at lunchtime, strenuous walking in possibly very wet areas.)
Trips 4, 7, 13, 22, 25, 31: Fort Fisher, Aquarium, etc.
We have all-day and half-day trips planned to Fort Fisher because these well-known hot-spots offer some of the best winter birding on the North Carolina coast. The ocean here is attractive to many birds because of the biologically-rich hard-bottomed areas just off shore. These trips also offer the chance to see winter passerines around the fort area. At Federal Point we'll look for grebes, shorebirds, terns, gulls, and raptors. Kure Beach offers ocean views that may include gannets, loons and all American scoter species. The ocean here has seen rarities including grebes, alcids, rare sea ducks, and possibly Purple Sandpipers.
(Restrooms available and restaurants. Driving and limited walking)
Trips 5, 23: Southport and Boiling Spring Lakes
This trip will include the ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport so be prepared to pay the ferry fees. The first stop with be The Nature Conservancy's Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve, known for overwintering songbirds, sparrows, and waterfowl. Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and the other seven species of NC woodpeckers are possible. Afterwards, we will return to Southport and bird as many hotspots as time permits, including the waterfront/marina area, Smithville Burying Grounds, community ponds, and Shepard Road area fields. These sites host overwintering and resident raptors, sparrows, shorebirds, terns, and waterfowl. The exact stops on this portion of the trip will be dictated by Southport Christmas Count results.
(Restrooms and lunch spots are available)
Trips 6, 24: Brunswick Nature Park, Orton Lake, Funston Farm, etc.
This route may offer Brunswick County's widest variety of winter birds. Winter specialties at Brunswick Town include Rusty Blackbirds, woodpeckers, owls, and many species of overwintering songbirds. Up to seven species of woodpecker plus American Woodcock and Winter and House Wrens are possible. Bald Eagle, Anhinga, and several varieties of ducks and scoters are likely on the Cape Fear River or on nearby Orton Pond. After the Brunswick Town stop, we will drive through the Funston Farms area searching for Eastern Meadowlark, Wilson's Snipe, American Pipit, and sparrows. This trip will end at Brunswick Nature Park on Town Creek where species observed may include Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blue-headed Vireo, and Fox Sparrow.
(Restrooms and lunch stops available)
Trips 8, 14, 26 and 32: Wrightsville Beach & Piers
From Mason Inlet on the north end to Masonboro Inlet on the south end, this trip features ocean and jetty scanning for rarities. Targeted areas, observed from the beach or end of Johnny Mercer's Pier, include the legendary loon flock off the island's north end that often extends to the pier. There are no guarantees, but this flock has consistently produced write-ins on the Christmas Count plus many rare winter bird sightings with birds such as Pacific Loon, Thick-billed Murre, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, and Razorbill. Shorebirds and water birds observed at the inlets and jetties may include Purple Sandpiper, Piping Plover, and Great Cormorant.
(Restrooms available)
Trips 9, 16, 27, 34: Airlie Gardens
Established in 1901, Airlie Gardens is a valuable cultural and ecological component of New Hanover County and North Carolina history. You'll have the opportunity to view ten acres of freshwater lakes and the grandeur of the 462 year-old Airlie Oak. Waterbirds such as ducks, egrets, herons, kingfishers, cormorants, and Ospreys are common. Watch for winter passerines as you walk around the well-kept grounds. On any given day it is easy to spot more than 30 species of birds while traversing the gardens. Individuals will be charged $5 for a grounds pass (the usual fee is $8). (Restrooms available)
Trips 10, 17, 28, 35: Greenfield Lake & Wilmington Winter Hotspots
Wilmington has many great winter hotspots! Following routes that will include many sites on the Christmas Bird Count, we will visit places such as Greenfield Lake and Oakdale Cemetery. Each of the four trips may follow a different route depending heavily on what's being seen the week of the CBC meeting, time of day, and rare bird sightings. Some of the best birds regularly seen include Anhinga, Sora, Winter Wren, Rusty Blackbird, and maybe a rare winter sparrow. Expect extended walks, mostly on paved trails.
(Restrooms available)
Trips 11, 15, 29, and 33: Carolina Beach State Park
Carolina Beach State Park offers varied habitats and birding opportunities. The land is slightly more than a mile wide between the ocean and the Cape Fear River. The state park's unique setting will have you scanning the marina area to check out the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway. There are shrubby spots to look for winter passerines. Waterfowl will be viewed at freshwater pond sites. You may have the opportunity for some ocean watching from the pier. With sites close together, you'll spend a lot of your time birding and less time driving between stops.
(Restrooms available)
Trips 12, 30: The Rail Express
This trip will begin early and the first stop is the marsh area across the road from the Battleship North Carolina. Target birds here are the elusive King and Virginia Rails, and “the battleship” is one location where they can consistently be heard, and if we are lucky, seen. After working the area around the battleship and the roadsides and woods in the area for passerines, this trip will drive out River Road with stops along the way. Eventually the trip will get to Fort Fisher where we will look for other rail species including Clapper Rail (expected) and Sora and Virginia. Rails are tough, but that's what makes searching for them so much fun.
(Restrooms available, moderate walking)
Trip 18, 36: Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve
This UNC-W property is a 174-acre preserve in northeastern Brunswick County. Ev-Henwood features a traditional southeastern floodplain forest and climax hardwood community with two creeks and upland trails throughout the property. Land management projects underway include the establishment of longleaf pine woods and some open grassy fields. Wild Turkeys inhabit these woods and Barred Owls call from the trees. We'll check the fields for sparrows and ponds for waterfowl. There are easy walking trails so once you arrive and park you will be enjoying nature with no more driving.
(No restroom facilities on the property)

Wrightsville Beach Planning Notes

Field trips leave from the host hotel. Please arrive a few minutes early so that we may depart on time.

We encourage carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and this also helps in parking at the birding sites. If you are willing to drive and take some old or new birding friends along, please let your trip leader know when you meet. This will help minimize the chances of getting separated on busy roads, ease vehicle congestion at our trip destinations, and will help to conserve gasoline!

On trips that involve ocean-watching or shorebirds, a spotting scope may be helpful. If you don't have one, don't worry, there should be plenty to go around, but having your own may enhance your viewing opportunities.

Dress for the weather! Field trips generally run rain or shine, so make sure raingear is part of your packing plans.

Participants are encouraged to bring a packed lunch and drinks on all-day trip outings as stops for food may not be possible, or choices may be limited.

Field trips are generally applicable to all levels of birders, from beginners to experts. If you are new to birding, new to the area, or just want a little bit of extra help during your trips, talk to your leaders. Leaders are happy to assist in identification, “tricks of the trade”, and other helpful hints. If you are hoping to find a particular species on your trips, let your leaders know beforehand so that they can be sure to try and “get you on the bird”.

CBC Winter Meeting page

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