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.