Spring in the North Carolina Sandhills!
By Susan Campbell
The Club will be returning to Southern Pines, North Carolina for the 2019 spring meeting. We hope that you will take advantage of the interesting trips and programs we have lined up from Friday, May 3rd and running through Sunday May 5th. Groups will head out to destinations new to CBC members like Carver's Creek State Park, Lake Auman. Others will visit sites that have become known as birding 'hot spots' more recently, such as Hobby Field. We will also have trips to well-known locations such as the Sandhills Game Land and Woodlake. We hope everyone will take advantage of the renovated facilities at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve as well. The new Discovery Center opened two years ago and there is now a gift shop selling park as well as general Sandhills merchandise with all proceeds going to support park initiatives and activities.
Our headquarters for the meeting will be at the Hampton Inn in Southern Pines on NC Highway 15/501 just northwest of the intersection with US Route 1. Rooms are $109 per night plus 9.75% tax. In order to receive the CBC meeting rate, reservations must be made by calling their toll free number (1-866-238-4218 or 910-693-4330) before April 5th. Reservations after the cut-off will be honored based on availability. There are numerous motels in the area if you cannot get a room at the Hampton Inn. Be aware that there are other events going on that weekend in the area, so you should not wait too long to make your lodging arrangements. The hotel will be accommodating our field trip schedule by having early breakfast hours, beginning at 6 a.m.
You will note that a number of the field trips focus on interesting organisms within the Sandhills ecosystem including plants, butterflies, and bees, in addition to the birds. On these trips, leaders will keep an eye/ear out for birds along the way, but will be specifically seeking out other species. Also, we have arranged some unique opportunities to observe interesting demonstrations by local folks. One such program is the Red-cockaded Woodpecker Nesting Ecology program involving an experienced local woodpecker biologist who will demonstrate the techniques used in monitoring and conservation of this endangered species. There will also be a photography workshop, hummingbird banding, and perhaps an actual prescribed burn.
Participants signing up for whole day trips will want to ensure they bring a lunch with them, as locations for purchasing food are limited in the vicinity of some destinations. Options for 'birding on your own' on the way to the meeting will be posted at the CBC web site well ahead of time. Otherwise, you will find a number of possibilities in your registration packet when you arrive.
We are very excited to offer for sale a special meeting t-shirt created by birder and artist Hal Broadfoot. The design will be similar to that on the previous Sandhills meeting shirts. A variety of sizes will be in hand and hopefully more than one color to choose from. These shirts should be a very special CBC memento from this meeting.
Please remember to check the schedule posted at registration for more details on all of the weekend's events. And any last minute changes and/or cancellations. We will also have material on restaurants and additional family activities available when you arrive. If you have any questions about lodging, field trips or the Southern Pines area, feel free to contact the meeting organizer, Susan Campbell, at (910) 695-0651or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us Friday for Social Hour hosted by Sandhills Natural History Society in the meeting area from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The local club will provide hospitality and desserts ahead of the program.. Local photographer Brady Beck is our scheduled speaker. Brady, who has been a biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for three decades, will share some of his favorite images from his favorite place: the Sandhills Game Lands.
Saturday evening we will enjoy a barbeque buffet catered by the nationally famous Pik N Pig. This restaurant, located at the Billy Mitchell Airfield (up in Carthage) is featured at the $100 Hamburger website, known to aviators as a worthwhile destination for a fly-in meal. Dinner offerings will include pork, chicken, sides, salad bar and assorted desserts. We will also have a vegetarian offering from Valenti's Italian Restaurant. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. for $20 per person (including tax and gratuity).
The Annual Meeting of the club will begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by a program at 8 p.m.by US Fish and Wildlife Biologist John Hammond. John will bring us up to speed on the status of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the Longleaf pine ecosystem that the bird calls home here in the Sandhills. He will also discuss management of different populations in the state, movements of the birds within North Carolina as well as tips for locating Red-cockadeds on your own.
Look forward to seeing many of you here in the Sandhills in May!