We could not have asked for better weather for the VSO field trip to Chincoteague on September 16-18, with sunny to partly cloudy skies for the entire weekend. We were excited to welcome many new members and first-time attendees, along with “old timers” who’ve been enthusiastic participants for decades. Our group of 85 tallied 129 species (see below), and the list included birds found on the Causeway, Chincoteague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, mosquitoes were abundant everywhere on the Refuge, so it’s hard to tell how many pints of blood were unwillingly left behind! Please note that this report continues after the gallery of images shown below (all photos taken by Lee Adams) so make sure to check it out!
Many thanks to field trip leaders Jerry Via, Bill Akers, Bob Ake, Mike Schultz, Saundra Winstead, Morocco St. Andre, and Meredith and Lee Bell, who worked hard to ensure participants had a great experience. Jerry kicked off the weekend Friday evening with a fascinating presentation on bird migration.
In addition to the “regulars,” we were thrilled to see species that we don’t get every year, including:
- American Golden Plover on the Wildlife Loop and one of the bus trips
- Piping Plover and Red Knot at Swans Cove
- Philadelphia Vireo and a family of Red-headed Woodpeckers on the Woodland
- Canada, Wilson’s and Magnolia Warblers on the Woodland Trail
- Buff-breasted, Stilt, White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers
- Red-breasted Nuthatches in good numbers on the Woodland Trail and
- Whimbrel and Wild Turkey on the bus trip
While sparrow and thrush species were sparse, we had an abundance of Brown-headed Nuthatches on the Refuge as well as on the property of the Refuge Inn. Many guests also enjoyed the calls of a Great-Horned Owl after dark.
The boat trip Saturday afternoon in Tom’s Cove was a big hit, with 65 people enjoying close-up views of many species during low tide. Bob Ake did an outstanding job leading the group, with assistance from Mike Schultz.
As we did in 2015 for Ruth Beck and Peggy Opengari, we gathered at sunrise on Sunday morning to celebrate the lives of four very special VSO members we lost this past year: Fenton Day, Barbara Hudgins, Gene Moore and Jerry Thornhill. Jerry Via made some very touching comments about each person, and then others spoke up to describe their own stories and experiences. It was a lovely way to remember these remarkable people, and we all agreed it would become a tradition of the Chincoteague trip
We’ve already locked in the 2017 dates, September 15-17. Mark your calendar now and plan to join us for spectacular birding at a remarkable place!
VSO Field Trip Co-chair
Official List of Observed Species
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
American Golden Plover
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Horned Owl
Great Crested Flycatcher