2-4 Feb 2018 - VSO Winter Field Trip to Outer Banks, NC

Make plans to join us for the VSO’s Winter field trip at the Outer Banks of North Carolina February 2-4, 2018! The weekend’s leaders include Bill Akers and Jerry Via, as well as VSO field trip co-chairs Lee Adams and Meredith Bell. We always have great waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors, along with a wide assortment of land birds.

Purple Sandpiper, FebrUary 2014, Photo by rob bielawski

TRIP REGISTRATION

To help us plan for the weekend, please register in advance. Provide the names of participants in your party with a telephone number and email address so we can contact you if needed. Register with Meredith Bell, trip coordinator, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824- 4958.

The weekend itinerary will be sent via email to all registrants a few days before the trip, and it will also be available at the front desk of the hotel Thursday evening. Important! Please bring FRS (two-way) radios if you have them because this helps us stay in contact in our caravans when calling out bird sightings.

HEADQUARTERS

The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront in Nags Head will be the trip headquarters again. There’s a huge deck off the second floor, which offers great beach-viewing opportunities. The special VSO room rate is $72 for oceanfront and $62 for bay-view plus tax. Ocean front rooms are available on a first come, first served basis. The 7 th floor bayside rooms offer a panoramic view of the bay but do not have balconies. The hotel is just two blocks from Jennette’s Pier, a 1,000-foot long, 24-foot wide pier that will allow you to get amazingly close to the ocean birds! Contact information for the hotel is: 8031 Old Oregon Inlet Road, Nags Head, NC 27959; Phone: 252-441- 6315. Reservations must be made by January 8, 2018 to get the special VSO rate.

MEALS

A complimentary breakfast buffet breakfast is included with your stay, beginning each morning at 6:00 AM. Participants should bring lunch provisions for Friday. For dinner there are many fine restaurants in the area.

FRIDAY

Lee Adams and Meredith Bell will lead the all-day trip to Lake Mattamuskeet. Last year we spotted American Bittern, Wilson’s Snipe, Orange-crowned Warbler, and a huge assortment of ducks. Meet in the hotel lobby at 7:15 AM for 7:30 departure. Expected driving time to our destination is 90 minutes. Bring snacks, beverage, and lunch. Also, bring camp or lawn chair to enjoy a break while eating lunch. Those interested will stop at Alligator River on the return trip to listen and watch for Short-eared Owls at dusk. Friday evening we’ll have a slide presentation and weekend overview at 8:00 PM in the Neptune Room on the 2 nd floor at the end of the hall. Complimentary coffee and tea will be available.

SATURDAY

We’ll kick off the morning at Jeannette’s Pier, where we’ve spotted Razorbills, Northern Gannets and Black Scoters in recent years. Then visit the impoundments of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We will divide into smaller groups for a safer caravan experience, and every group will visit all areas. We’ll return to the hotel for lunch (on your own), giving you time to revisit Jennette’s Pier, the beach and other nearby areas. At 3:00 PM we’ll gather at Bodie Lighthouse to view waterfowl from the platform. Those interested can stay after dusk to listen for owls and American Woodcocks. There will be a tally at 6:30 PM in the Neptune Room on the 2 nd floor at the end of the hall. Complimentary coffee and tea will be available.

SUNDAY

We’ll explore Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Drive on your own and meet at 8:30am at the parking area at the main entrance on Milltail Road. We’ll caravan down the road so you can easily catch up with us if we’ve already started. Come prepared for variable weather, lots of birds and a great time! If you have any questions, contact field trip coordinator Meredith Bell at 804-824- 4958 or merandlee@gmail.com.

VERY Important! All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON- members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2018. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://virginiabirds.net/VSO-Store.html or pay the registration fee on the first evening of the event.

December 1-3 2017 - Virginia Beach, VA

The VSO annual field trip to Virginia Beach will be held Friday, December 1 through Sunday, December 3, 2017. A trip to Craney Island on Friday morning will run from 9 until 12:30. On Saturday, a visit to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) is planned. As Islands 1 & 2 will be closed, we will be visiting Islands 3 & 4.

Harlequin Ducks at the CBBT, photo by Rob Bielawski

Harlequin Ducks at the CBBT, photo by Rob Bielawski

The last trip of the weekend will be a tram ride at Back Bay NWR and False Cape State Park on Sunday morning. For additions to the schedule & updates, please check VSO’s website:
www.virginiabirds.org/

LODGING:

There will be a blocks of rooms available at Comfort Suites Beachfront (VA563) To register for the group rate you must mention the Virginia Society of Ornithology. Reserve rooms by Nov 16 for the group rate.

Comfort Suites Beachfront (VA563) 2321 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 491-2400/ FAX (757) 491-8204 $74 + tax. Reserve by November 16.
http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-virginia_beach-virginia-VA563

FRIDAY MORNING/FRIDAY AFTERNOON

A trip to Craney Island will run from 9 until 12:30 Friday morning. Please do not arrive before 8:40 as per instructions from the Army Corps of Engineer liaison. Come prepared to car pool with 3 or 4 people per vehicle. Please bring FRS radios that will tune to Channel 4, if you have them.

FRIDAY EVENING

A tally/meet & greet will be held at 7 pm Friday at the hospitality room of the hotel. Please bring a beverage of your choice and a nibble to share.

SATURDAY MORNING

The Saturday field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) will leave promptly at 8:00 a.m. from the parking lot of the South CBBT Toll Booth Plaza.  Participants must meet & check in with Lee Adams at the CBBT parking lot at 7:25 a.m.This is usually a 3 hour trip.. Participants should bring binoculars, spotting scopes, snacks, and beverages and be prepared for winter weather. Participation will be limited to the first 45 to sign up since there is a requirement to pay a security guard to accompany each group of 15. The fee is $10 per person for the cost of the security guard; please bring cash so that the fee can be paid to CBBT Friday morning. The security information form, available at: http://www.cbbt.com/forms/2011RevisedRESEARCHERBirdingApp.pdf  is needed by Nov 20 for each person who registers for the trip. Please fill out ONLY page 2 which is headed: Each individual in this Group must provide the following information & fax (540-834-0767), email, or mail to me, Lee Adams Box 1671 Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I will fill out the group information that is requested. I must take the forms to the CBBT office on Friday, 11/24.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Some folks may want to head north across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to explore and bird. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a great winter birding area. Flocks of Snow Geese should be there. Kiptopeke State Park 3540 Kiptopeke Dr, Cape Charles, VA 23310 is another great place to bird.

If you wish to explore on your own, the address for Pleasure House Point Natural Area is 3957 Marlin Bay Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23455. Directions from hotel area would be: north on Atlantic Ave which becomes Shore Dr, continue about 6 miles on Shore Dr and cross Lesner Bridge, after you cross the bridge go about 3/4 mile and turn left onto Marlin Bay Dr, park along the street and explore the trails on your own.

At 8:00 pm there will be a tally in the hospitality/meeting room. Folks can gather to chat. BYOB.

SUNDAY MORNING

Back Bay NWR and False Cape State Park 4005 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456

The tram trip at BBNWR will begin at 8:00 and end about 12:30. Participants should bring binoculars, spotting scopes, lunch, snacks, and beverages and more warm clothes than you think you will need. After a leisurely tram ride with stops to view a myriad of shorebirds and waterfowl, some time will be spent birding and lunching at False Cape State Park.This trip is limited to the first 27 to register. Please bring $15 checks made out to VSO.

TRIP REGISTRATION

It is important to register for the field trips as participation is limited. Register with the trip coordinator, Lee Adams, by email by November 15 at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com. Please put VSO VIRGINIA BEACH TRIP in the subject line of the email, and include your name, e-mail address & cell phone number, and the field trips you are requesting.

VERY Important! All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2017. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://www.virginiabirds.org/membership-and-donate/ or pay the registration fee on the first evening of the event.

 

15-17 Sep 2017 - VSO Field Trip to Chincoteague, VA

Every fall is different at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, so join us to discover the surprises that await us on this year’s annual fall VSO trip, September 15-17. Last year we tallied 129 species, including a terrific combination of waterfowl, shorebirds and migrating songbirds.

American Oystercatcher at the refuge, photographed May 2013 by Rob Bielawski

TRIP REGISTRATION

To help us plan for the weekend, please register in advance. Provide the names of participants in your party with your mobile number and email address so we can contact you if needed. Register with Meredith Bell, trip coordinator, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824- 4958. If you’re also registering for one of the bus trips to Wash Flats (see below), be sure to state your preferred day.

HEADQUARTERS

The Refuge Inn on Beach Road in Chincoteague will be the host hotel (800-544- 8469 or 757-336- 5511). Room rates are $114.75 (plus tax) per night for a single or a double room, minimum two night stay. For those arriving a day early or staying an extra day, the rate for Thursday and Sunday nights will be $102. The Refuge Inn is non-smoking and no pets are allowed. To assure the VSO rate, make reservations by August 15 and state you are with the VSO when you call.

MEALS

Meals are on your own. The Refuge Inn offers a complimentary continental breakfast for guests and will open early for us for breakfast at 7:00am. Chincoteague is known for its fine dining and you will be able to choose from any number of excellent restaurants.

CHECK-IN

Check-in time is 4:00pm. After you check in at the hotel on Friday, be sure to pick up a schedule of events for the week-end at the VSO headquarters, located in the Conference room at the far end of the Refuge Inn.  The Conference room will be open Friday from 4:30-5:30pm and re-open at 7:15pm.

FRIDAY EVENING

An evening orientation and slide program will be presented in the Conference room by trip leaders Jerry Via and Bill Akers. Due the size of the room, we will have two sessions, at 7:30pm and 8:45pm. Jerry and Bill will also give a preview of birds in the area and a synopsis of the field trips for the week-end.

SATURDAY FIELD TRIPS

You can select from a variety of field trip experiences: "Morning Warbler Walk” on the Woodland Trail to look for migrating songbirds; “Motorcade to Assateague Beach,” with frequent stops to look at shorebirds; and “Birding and Biking” (Sat only) to explore the wildlife loop. (No cars are allowed until 3:00pm, so it’s a safe, easy ride. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one at the shop next to the Refuge Inn.) We’ll also offer two bus trips (Sat and Sun) and a Birding Boat trip (Sat only).

WASH FLATS BUS TRIP – ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED

We have arranged for two bus trips to the Wash Flats: at 3:00pm on Saturday and 8:00am on Sunday. Thisis a restricted area in the refuge and can only be entered with special permission. The shorebirds and raptors are often abundant in this area. The bus has a capacity for 25 people. The cost per person is $13. If you want to go on this trip, you must make a reservation and specify your preferred day with Meredith Bell, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824- 4958. Payment will be made at the registration area when you arrive on Friday (exact change is appreciated). If you are unable to attend after making your reservation, please contact Meredith so that she can open up your space for someone else. This is a popular trip and fills up quickly, so we recommend that you register early.

BOAT TRIP SATURDAY, 16th – ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED

There will be a special birding by boat trip Saturday at 10:00am (2 hours) with a local boat captain and his crew. You have a chance to check out the marshes and tidal flats up-close during low tide for interesting water birds and raptors. You must pay in advance and get a ticket. Between 8:30am-5:30 pm, go to Daisey’s Island Cruises, 3335 Main Street (blue boat house, with white fence in front) and pay $33 (cash or check) or $35 (credit card) per person. Bring cash for tip (to crew) on the boat. Departure is from the Curtis Merritt Marina at the Sound end of Chincoteague Island, 2246 Curtis Merritt Lane. Be there 15 minutes before departure. (Note: The boat can hold up to 100 people!). Contact Meredith Bell at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824- 4958 to register.

SATURDAY EVENING

We will have a tally of the day's species at 6:30pm in the Conference room.

SUNDAY MORNING

We will repeat many of the field trips from Saturday, so you will have a chance to sample many different areas. Check out time from most of the motels is 11:00AM.

OTHER LODGING IN THE AREA

If you are unable to get a room at the Refuge Motor Inn, you may want to try these motels close by: Best Western (800-553- 6117), Days Inn (800-329- 1992) and Sea Hawk (757-336- 6527). For additional information about lodging and restaurant options, check out the Chincoteague town website: www.chincoteaguechamber.com

18 Aug 2017 - VSO Field Trip to Craney Island

NOTE: THIS FIELD TRIP IS NOW FULL (AS OF 16 JUN 2017). TO BE WAIT LISTED PLEASE CONTACT LEE ADAMS AT THE LINK BELOW.

Meet at 4599 River Shore Road, Portsmouth, VA.

Arrive at 7:30 to enter the compound at 7:45. Craney Island We will have 15 minutes to sign-in and listen to a safety announcement. Trip around Craney Island will be from 8 until 11 and we will be following one leader and stopping where they choose. Carpooling is required. Please wear closed-toe shoes to the Craney Island trip as the Army Corps of Engineers is requiring. Please do not arrive before 7:30 and do not park in driveways, either private or the one for Craney, or on any grassy areas. Limit of 25 people.

Due to expected construction this date may be changed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Contact Lee Adams to register at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com or 540-850-0777.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Fall 2016

VERY Important! All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2017. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://www.virginiabirds.org/membership-and-donate/ or pay the registration fee on the first evening of the event.

27 May 2017 - VSO Field Trip to Piney Grove

The VSO and Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) are jointly offering a field trip to The Nature Conservancy’s Piney Grove Preserve, site of nesting Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers. Bryan Watts from the CCB will be our leader. We are given access to this protected site through CCB’s support and the cooperation of The Nature Conservancy. In recent years we have had good views of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, nestlings and nest sites.

We will assemble at 5:15 A.M. in the morning on May 27 at the Virginia Diner in Wakefield and leave in time to catch sunrise at the nest site. Because of the sensitive nature of this area, we are limited in the number of participants who can attend. (20 people). We will need to carpool as parking is limited on the site. This field trip will end mid to late morning. Contact Lee Adams to register at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com or 540-850-0777.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker, photographed on the 2016 Field Trip by Lisa Rose!

VERY Important! All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2017. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://www.virginiabirds.org/membership-and-donate/ or pay the registration fee on the first evening of the event.

21 April 2017 - VSO Field Trip to Craney Island

NOTE: THIS FIELD TRIP IS NOW FULL (AS OF 22 MAR 2017). 

Meet at 4599 River Shore Road, Portsmouth, VA. Arrive at 7:30 to enter the compound at 7:45. Craney Island We will have 15 minutes to sign-in and listen to a safety announcement. Trip around Craney Island will be from 8 until 11 and we will be following one leader and stopping where they choose. Carpooling is required. Please wear closed-toe shoes to the Craney Island trip as the Army Corps of Engineers is requiring. Please do not arrive before 7:30 and do not park in driveways, either private or the one for Craney, or on any grassy areas. Limit of 25 people.

Due to expected construction this date may be changed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Contact Lee Adams to register at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com or 540-850-0777.

VERY Important! All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2017. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://www.virginiabirds.org/membership-and-donate/ or pay the registration fee on the first evening of the event.

9-11 June 2017 - VSO Summer Field Trip to Blacksburg

The New River Valley Bird Club will host the VSO summer field trip June 9-11, 2017, featuring some of the best birding areas in the New River Valley and Southern Appalachians. The varied topography and the river valley offer a wide variety of habitats and bird species. Field trips will be offered Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. Bill Akers and Jerry Via will be our trip leaders, and they have organized some terrific activities for us!

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

TRIP REGISTRATION

To help us plan for the weekend, please register in advance. Provide the names of participants in your party with a telephone number and email address so we can contact you if needed. Register with Meredith Bell, trip coordinator, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824-4958.

Please bring FRS (two-way) radios if you have them to stay in contact in our caravans when calling out bird sightings.

HEADQUARTERS

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Blacksburg is the host hotel (This is the same hotel as the 2015 trip, now under new ownership). The special rate for the VSO block of rooms is $95/night (plus tax) for single or double. Double and King beds are available, and some suites have pull-out beds. There are microwaves and refrigerators in all rooms. Register by Friday, MAY 8, to get the special rate: (540) 552-5636. Hotel address is 1020 Plantation Road, Blacksburg, VA24060

MEALS

A complimentary hot breakfast buffet is included with your stay, beginning at 6:30 AM on Friday and 7:00AM on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll need to bring lunch for Saturday. (There’s a convenient store next to the hotel.) Dinners are on your own. There are many excellent restaurants in Blacksburg.

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, JUNE 9 (approximately 35-minute drive)

Meet at 1:30pm in the hotel lobby for departure to Mountain Lake. We’ll start at the Biological Station, where target birds include Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Black-capped Chickadee. From there we’ll go to an area of rhododendrons near Mountain Lake Lodge, where we’ll look for Canada and Black-throated Blue Warblers.

SATURDAY, JUNE 10

7:45 AM - Departure for Glen Alton and Kelly Flats (approximately 45-minute drive)

This is a full day trip, so be sure to bring lunch, snacks and beverages.

Once at our destination, we will divide into two groups and alternate visits to both areas. 

Glen Alton is an estate now owned by the Jefferson National Forest. It is unusual because the elevation is 2,600 feet, but some of the birds there are normally found at much higher elevations.  There are many beautiful trails along a stream, fish ponds and beaver pond. The walking is level and easy. Specialties include Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Northern Parula, Blue-headed Vireo and Brown Creeper. 

Kelly Flats includes a small bog and a walk along a fire road. This trail requires walking up a hill, but we’ll cover it at a slow pace. Highlights will be Red-breasted Nuthatch, Scarlet Tanager, Acadian Flycatcher and singing Hermit Thrush.   

After Lunch

We’ll visit other areas in the New River Valley in search of species like Golden-winged, Hooded and Kentucky Warblers.  

6:00 PM - Tally of species, 1st floor hotel conference room

Dinner on your own

SUNDAY, JUNE 11

7:45 AM - Departure for nearby areas in Blacksburg

Plans are still being finalized for the specific destinations Sunday morning, but they will be near the hotel for ease of checking out.

If you have any questions, contact field trip coordinator Meredith Bell at (804) 824-4958 or merandlee@gmail.com

3-5 February 2017 - Outer Banks, NC

Make plans to join us for the VSO’s Winter field trip at the Outer Banks of North Carolina February 3-5, 2017! The weekend’s leaders include Bill Akers and Jerry Via, as well as VSO field trip co-chairs Lee Adams and Meredith Bell. We always have great waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors, along with a wide assortment of land birds.

TRIP REGISTRATION

To help us plan for the weekend, please register in advance. Provide the names of participants in your party with a telephone number and email address so we can contact you if needed. Register with Meredith Bell, trip coordinator, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824-4958.

The weekend itinerary will be sent via email to all registrants a few days before the trip, and it will also be available at the front desk of the hotel Thursday evening.

Important! Please bring FRS (two-way) radios if you have them because this helps us stay in contact in our caravans when calling out bird sightings.

HEADQUARTERS

The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront in Nags Head will be the trip headquarters again this year. There’s a huge deck off the second floor, which offers great beach-viewing opportunities. The special VSO room rate is $70 for oceanfront and $62 for bay-view plus tax. Ocean front rooms are available on a first come, first served basis. The 7th floor bayside rooms offer a panoramic view of the bay but do not have balconies. This hotel is also just two blocks from Jennette’s Pier, a 1,000-foot long, 24-foot wide pier that will allow you to get amazingly close to the ocean birds! Contact information for the hotel is: 8031 Old Oregon Inlet Road, Nags Head, NC 27959; Phone: 252-441-6315. Reservations must be made by January 2, 2017 to get the special VSO rate.

MEALS

A complimentary breakfast buffet breakfast is included with your stay, beginning each morning at 6:00 AM. Participants should bring lunch provisions for Friday. For dinner there are many fine restaurants in the area.

FRIDAY

Lee Adams and Meredith Bell will lead the day-trip to Lake Mattamuskeet. Last year we spotted American Bittern, Blue-headed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, and a huge assortment of ducks. Meet in the hotel lobby at 7:15 AM for 7:30 departure. Expected driving time to our destination is 90 minutes. Bring snacks, beverage, and lunch. Also, bring camp or lawn chair to enjoy a break while eating lunch. Those interested will stop at Alligator River on the return trip to listen and watch for Short-eared Owls at dusk.

Friday evening we’ll have a slide presentation and weekend overview at 8:00 PM in the Neptune Room on the 2nd floor at the end of the hall. Complimentary coffee and tea will be available.

SATURDAY

The morning will be spent visiting the impoundments of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The generally milder climate and the proximity of the Gulf Stream make for an interesting combination of wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, ocean birds and sometimes whales. We will divide into smaller groups for a safer caravan experience, but every group will visit all areas.

We’ll return to the hotel for lunch (on your own), giving you time to explore Jennette’s Pier, the beach and other nearby areas. At 3:00 PM we’ll all meet at Bodie Lighthouse to view waterfowl from the platform. Those interested can stay after dusk to listen for owls and American Woodcocks. There will be a tally at 6:30 PM in the Neptune Room on the 2nd floor at the end of the hall. Complimentary coffee and tea will be available.

SUNDAY

We’ll explore Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Drive on your own and meet at 8:30am at the parking area at the main entrance on Milltail Road. We’ll caravan down the road so you can easily catch up with us if we’ve already started.

Come prepared for variable weather, lots of birds and a great time! If you have any questions, contact field trip coordinator Meredith Bell at 804-824-4958 or merandlee@gmail.com.

VERY Important! All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2017. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://virginiabirds.net/VSO-Store.html or pay the registration fee on the first evening of the event.

2-4 December 2016 - Virginia Beach Field Trip

The VSO annual field trip to Virginia Beach will be held Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 4, 2016. On Saturday a visit to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) is planned. The last trip of the weekend will be a tram ride at Back Bay NWR and False Cape State Park on Sunday morning. 

Harlequin Ducks are one of the more sought-after species in Virginia Beach during winter, and typically as a species, they are present around the islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT). 

LODGING

There will be a blocks of rooms available at Comfort Suites Beachfront (VA563) Renovations have been completed. To register for the group rate you must mention the Virginia Society of Ornithology. Reserve rooms by Nov 10 for the group rate.

Comfort Suites Beachfront (VA563) 2321 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23451

(757) 491-2400/ FAX (757) 491-8204 $74 + tax. Reserve by November 10.

http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-virginia_beach-virginia-VA563

FRIDAY MORNING/FRIDAY AFTERNOON

Craney Island Trip

Arrive at 7:30 to enter the compound at 7:45. We will have 15 minutes to sign-in and listen to a safety announcement. Trip around Craney Island will be from 8 until 11 and we will be following one leader and stopping where they choose. Carpooling is required; we may meet off-site at 7 to arrange carpools. Limit of 25 people. Contact Lee Adams to register at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com or 540-850-0777

FRIDAY EVENING

A tally/meet & greet will be held at 7 pm Friday at the hospitality room of the hotel. Please bring a beverage of your choice and a nibble to share.

SATURDAY MORNING

The Saturday field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) will leave promptly at 8:00 a.m. from the parking lot of the CBBT visitor center. Participants must meet & check in at the CBBT office at 7:15 a.m.This is a half day trip. Participants should bring binoculars, spotting scopes, snacks, and beverages and be prepared for winter weather. Participation will be limited to the first 45 to sign up since there is a requirement to pay a security guard to accompany each group of 15. The fee is $10 per person for the cost of the security guard; please bring cash so that the fee can be paid to CBBT Saturday morning. The security information form, available at: http://www.cbbt.com/forms/2011RevisedRESEARCHERBirdingApp.pdf  is needed by Nov 14 for each person who registers for the trip. Please fill out ONLY page 2 which is headed: Each individual in this Group must provide the following information & fax (540-834-0767), email, or mail to me, Lee Adams Box 1671 Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I will fill out the group information that is requested. I must take the forms to the CBBT office on Friday, 11/25

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Some folks may want to head north across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to explore and bird. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a great winter birding area. Flocks of Snow Geese should be there. Kiptopeke State Park 3540 Kiptopeke Dr, Cape Charles, VA 23310 is another great place to bird.

If you wish to explore on your own, the address for Pleasure House Point Natural Area is 3957 Marlin Bay Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23455. Directions from hotel area would be: north on Atlantic Ave which becomes Shore Dr, continue about 6 miles on Shore Dr and cross Lesner Bridge, after you cross the bridge go about 3/4 mile and turn left onto Marlin Bay Dr, park along the street and explore the trails on your own.

At 8:00 pm there will be a tally in the hospitality/meeting room. Folks can gather to chat. BYOB.

SUNDAY MORNING

Back Bay NWR and False Cape State Park 4005 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456

The tram trip at BBNWR will begin at 8:00 AM.This will be a half day trip. Participants should bring spotting scopes, lunch, snacks, and beverages and more warm clothes than you think you will need. After a leisurely tram ride with stops to view a myriad of shorebirds and waterfowl, some time will be spent birding and lunching at False Cape State Park.This trip is limited to the first 27 to register. Please bring $15 checks made out to VSO.

TRIP REGISTRATION

It is important to register for the field trips as participation is limited. Register with the trip coordinator, Lee Adams, by email by November 15 at leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com. Please put VSO VIRGINIA BEACH TRIP in the subject line of the email, and include your name, e-mail address & cell phone number, and the field trips you are requesting.

19 August 2016 - Craney Island Field Trip - (NOTE: Trip is Full as of July 15)

Craney Island Field Trip Friday, August 19, 2016. Meet at 4599 River Shore Road, Portsmouth, VA at 7:15 A.M.The field trip will run from 7:30 until 11:30. Please come prepared to car pool which is one of the prerequisites of the trip. Each car must have at least 3 people in it. 4 x 4 vehicles suggested. There is a limit of 30 participants.

The Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area is an active U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works project. The site is located on the north side of Portsmouth, Virginia and consists of approximately 2,500 acres of dredged material management area. The site is served by a perimeter road approximately 6 miles in length located near the shoreline. Varied habitats at the site support a wide diversity of bird species. Waders, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors and land birds take advantage of this dredge spoil site. A few species that have been seen on August field trips include: Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Wilson's Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Blue-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Sora, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Bald Eagle, Bobolink & Black Tern.

American Avocet, one of many Craney Island specialties, though this one was photographed at Pleasure House Point Natural Area in Virginia Beach in 2015.

All VSO field trips will have a registration fee of $20 for NON-members only. This fee will be applied to an individual membership that will be active until the end of 2016. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee will be $25, which covers a family membership. Groups of students accompanied by their instructor are exempt from this fee. Non-members can join in advance at http://www.virginiabirds.org/membership-and-donate/.

To register for this field trip, contact Lee Adams, VSO Field Trip Co-Chairperson. Email leeloudenslageradams@gmail.com with VSO Craney Island Trip in the subject line, or call 540-850-0777. Please include your email address and cell phone number in your message.

VSO Fall Field Trip: Chincoteague, VA - September 16-18, 2016

Every fall is different at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, so join us to discover the surprises that await us on this year’s annual fall VSO trip, September 16-18. Last we tallied 145 species, including a terrific combination of waterfowl, shorebirds and migrating songbirds.

TRIP REGISTRATION

To help us plan for the weekend, please register in advance. Provide the names of participants in your party with your mobile number and email address so we can contact you if needed. Register with Meredith Bell, trip coordinator, atmerandlee@gmail.com or 804-824-4958. If you’re also registering for one of the bus trips to Wash Flats (see below), be sure to state your preferred day.

HEADQUARTERS

The Refuge Inn on Beach Road in Chincoteague will be the host hotel (800-544-8469 or 757-336-5511).  Room rates are $108 (plus tax) per night for a single or a double room, minimum two night stay. For those arriving a day early or staying an extra day, the rate for Thursday and Sunday nights will be $96. The Refuge Inn is non-smoking and no pets are allowed. To assure the VSO rate,make reservations by August 16 and state you are with the VSO when you call.   

MEALS

Meals are on your own. The Refuge Inn offers a complimentary continental breakfast for guests and will open early for us for breakfast at 7:00am. Chincoteague is known for its fine dining and you will be able to choose from any number of excellent restaurants.  

CHECK-IN

Check-in time is 4:00pm. After you check in at the hotel on Friday, be sure to pick up a schedule of events for the week-end at the VSO headquarters, located in the Conference room at the far end of the Refuge Inn. The Conference room will be open Friday from 4:30-5:30pm and re-open at 7:15pm.

FRIDAY EVENING

An evening orientation and slide program will be presented in the Conference room by trip leaders Jerry Via and Bill Akers. Due the size of the room, we will have two sessions, at 7:30pm and 8:45pm. Jerry and Bill will also give a preview of birds in the area and a synopsis of the field trips for the week-end.

SATURDAY FIELD TRIPS

You can select from a variety of field trip experiences: "Morning Warbler Walk” on the Woodland Trail to look for migrating songbirds; “Motorcade to Assateague Beach,” with frequent stops to look at shorebirds; and “Birding and Biking” (Sat only) to explore the wildlife loop. (No cars are allowed until 3:00pm, so it’s a safe, easy ride. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one at the shop next to the Refuge Inn.) And we’ll also offer two bus trips (Sat and Sun) and a Sat-only Birding Boat trip (Sat only).

WASH FLATS BUS TRIP – ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED

We have arranged for two bus trips to the Wash Flats: at 8:00am on Saturday and on Sunday. This is a restricted area in the refuge and can only be entered with special permission. The shorebirds and raptors are often abundant in this area. The bus has a capacity for 25 people. The cost per person is $12. If you want to go on this trip, you must make a reservation and specify your preferred day with Meredith Bell, at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824-4958. Payment will be made at the registration area when you arrive on Friday (exact change is appreciated). If you are unable to attend after making your reservation, please contact Meredith so that she can open up your space for someone else. This is a popular trip and fills up quickly, so we recommend that you register early.

BOAT TRIP – ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED

There will be a special birding by boat trip Saturday at 1:00 pm (2 hours) with a local boat captain and his crew. You have a chance to check out the marshes and tidal flats up-close during low tide for interesting water birds and raptors. The fee is $33 (plus tip) and is paid in cash at the boat, located at 2246 Curtis Merritt Harbor Drive, off Main Street. (Note: The boat can hold up to 100 people!). Contact Meredith Bell at merandlee@gmail.com or 804-824-4958 to register.

SATURDAY EVENING

We will have a tally of the day's species at 6:30pm in the Conference room. 

SUNDAY MORNING

We will repeat many of the field trips from Saturday, so you will have a chance to sample many different areas. Check out time from most of the motels is 11:00AM.

OTHER LODGING IN THE AREA

If you are unable to get a room at the Refuge Motor Inn, you may want to try these motels close by: Best Western (800-553-6117), Days Inn (800-329-1992) and Sea Hawk (757-336-6527).

For additional information about lodging and restaurant options, check out the Chincoteague town website: www.chincoteaguechamber.com