VSO Outer Banks Field Trip - Jan 31- Feb 2, 2020

Make plans to join us for the VSO’s Winter field trip at the Outer Banks of North Carolina January 31-February 2! 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. 

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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.

A detailed weekend itinerary will be sent via email to all registrants a few days before the trip.

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

HEADQUARTERS
The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront in Nags Head is again the trip headquarters. There’s a huge deck off the second floor, which offers great beach-viewing opportunities. The special VSO room rate is $75 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. 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 really 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 10, 2020 to get the special VSO rate.

MEALS
A complimentary breakfast buffet breakfast is included with your stay, beginning each morning at 6:00 AM. For dinner there are many fine restaurants in the area.

FRIDAY 
You have two options for Friday, and you do NOT need to register in advance for your preference.
Option 1 - Lee Adams will lead the all-day trip to Lake Mattamuskeet. Meet in the hotel lobby at 7:15 AM for 7:30 departure. Expected driving time is 90 minutes. Bring snacks, beverage, and lunch. Optional: camp or lawn chair for greater comfort while eating lunch. Those interested will stop at Alligator River on the return trip to listen and watch for Short-eared Owls at dusk.

Option 2 – For those who prefer less driving. Meredith, Bill and Jerry will cover areas closer to the hotel.
AM - Jennette’s Pier and other nearby spots
Lunch – on your own
PM – Alligator River. We’ll explore areas that won’t be covered on Sunday’s AM trip. Those interested can stay until dusk with Lee Adams’ groups to listen for Short-eared Owls.

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

SATURDAY
Our morning field trips will include visits to the impoundments of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas. We’ll 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), with time afterwards to visit Jennette’s Pier, the beach and other nearby areas. Last year at the pier, species of note were Dovekie, Razorbill, Red-breasted Merganser, Horned Grebe, and Northern Gannet. At 3:00 PM we’ll gather at Bodie Lighthouse to view waterfowl from the platform. 
At 6:00 PM there will be a tally in the Neptune Room on the 2nd floor. 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 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 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 2020. If 2 or more people from the same family register, the registration fee is $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.