October 16, 2017


Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival Begins with Nearly 100 Events



By JOY CRIST

Tuesday marked the opening day of the Wings Over Water Festival, and the next few days present a stellar opportunity for locals and visitors to get out and explore the local landscape.

Now celebrating its 21st year, the 2017 fall session of Wings Over Water has roughly 100 scheduled events from October 17 until October 22, which includes hikes, paddling trips, art classes, island-hopping adventures, and much more.

The event spans from inland National Wildlife Refuges to Portsmouth Island, and locals will find quite a few activities that are close to home on the schedule.

Folks can register online for the following day’s activities throughout the festival, so it’s perfectly fine to procrastinate… at least for a while.

“Many [activities] can fill up quickly, so the sooner the better,” says Steve Brumfield, Wings Over Water Coordinator. “But we’re certainly happy to have people sign up, and we’ve had people sign up all the way to the day before the final day of events.”

Wings Over Water attracts birders from all over the East Coast, but locals will find a number of reasons to get out and explore their home turf.

“It gets people out into the area, and lets them [discover] the wildlife where they are,” says Brumfield. “In the summertime, everyone is so busy and people don’t have a chance to get out and appreciate the natural beauty. Wherever you are from, it’s a great opportunity to get out and see wildlife and support local businesses.”

You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate, but it helps to have a sense of adventure and an inherent desire to go exploring.

A complete schedule of events can be found at https://www.wingsoverwater.org/schedule.html, and folks can register online at https://2017wow.my-trs.com/.

Here are the specific activities and events that are being held on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands (starting on Wednesday.)

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Sunrise Kayak Tour   Enjoy a sunrise kayak tour through Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The shallow waters bring an abundance of shorebirds. Oystercatchers, plovers, gulls, cormorants and pelicans gather to feed.  On occasion you may catch a glimpse of migrating Snow geese. This is a stunningly beautiful paddle between islands of marsh grass during the first light of day. Sunrise 7:13 am. We provide the kayak, paddle, personal flotation device and leader, you provide the paddle power. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center parking lot, 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC  27968.  App. 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge west side Hwy 12. We will transport you to the launch location.  Map ID Green N. Leader/Field Expert: Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School staff. $40.00

Wed 10-18-17, 6:00-8:00 a.m.
Thu 10-19-17 6:00-8:00 a.m.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge North Pond Birding  This walk, suitable for all levels of birding, will include the south and north dikes and will be paced to give participants an opportunity to study species found. Likely birds include dabbling ducks, herons, egrets; Brown Pelicans, White Ibis, raptors, shorebirds, gulls; terns, warblers, sparrows and blackbirds. App. 1.5-mile walking distance. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center parking lot, 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC  27968. App. 4 miles south of the Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge on the west side of Hwy 12. Map ID Green N. $25.00

Wed  10-18-17, 7:30-11:00 a.m. 
Fri  10-20-17, 7:30-11:00 a.m.
Sun 10-22-17, 7:30-11:00 a.m.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge South Pond Birding   The search for birds will include checking the impoundment for waterfowl and migratory shorebirds and also checking the undisturbed vegetation of the dikes and marshes for songbirds and raptors. Come prepared for mosquitoes. Cacti can also be a problem. Wear appropriate footwear. 1.5 to 2-mile walk. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center parking lot, 14500 NC Hwy 12  Rodanthe, NC  27968.  App. 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge, west side of NC Hwy 12. Map ID Green N.  $25.00

Wed 10-18-17, 1:00-4:30 p.m.
Thu 10-19-17, 7:30-11:00 a.m.  
Thu 10-19-17, 1:00-4:30 p.m.

Sorting Out Shorebirds (NEW)  Get a leg up on those confusing shorebirds with this beginner/intermediate workshop out in the field. We all know that peeps, sandpipers, plovers and the like can be terribly confusing, so let's head outdoors to get a grip on the shorebirds here on North Carolina's Outer Banks. As well as looking at identification features such as general impression, plumage characteristics, and size, we will also visit several different locations to see habitat preference and feeding methods for many of our resident and transient shorebirds. A scope will be very useful to bring along. Come prepared for mosquitoes. Wear appropriate footwear for walking pondside trails, weedy dikes, and sandy shorelines. We will carpool or caravan to the various locations. Meet:  On the porch of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center , 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC 27968.  App. 4 miles south of the Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge on the west side Hwy 12. Leader/Field Expert:  Simon RB Thompson. $25.00

Thur 10-19-17, 7:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Cape Hatteras Birding   Cape Hatteras is one of the Outer Banks' premier birding locations. The Point, the Salt Pond and adjacent flats, dunes and wetlands are historically important to both anglers and birders. Expect to see not only Brown Pelicans, gulls, terns, seabirds, shorebirds, ducks, and waders, but also a variety of raptors and passerines are possible. Northern Gannets and an assortment of grebes and sparrows are possible as well. The trip will be in leader-driven beach vehicles with some walking on off-road areas. Alert: App. 45 miles south from Roanoke Island (Manteo) to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (Buxton). Make it a day on Hatteras Island. Combine this trip with the new Buxton Woods Maritime Forest Hike. It starts just a few miles away after lunch, Thursday only. Meet: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse parking lot, 46368 Old Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC  27920. Map ID Green P. $30.00

Thu 10-19-17, 8:00-11:30 a.m. 
Fri 10-20-17, 8:00-11:30 a.m.
Sat 10-21-17, 8:00-11:30 a.m.

Buxton Woods Maritime Forest Hike  Take a two-hour hike in the wild maritime forest, on relict sand dune ridges as high as 60 feet surrounding freshwater swales locally known as sedges. Located on the widest and wildest part of Hatteras Island, these topographic and geographic features combine to produce unique island habitat.  The maritime forests, swamps, and inter-dune ponds of Buxton Woods provide habitat for much of the island's wildlife. Bring water.  Wear comfortable walking shoes. Meet:  Buxton Woods Nature Trail parking lot on Lighthouse Road, adjacent to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse parking area. We may caravan to other nearby trails showing various aspects of wooded habitats.  Alert: This meeting location is app. 48 miles south from Roanoke Island. Make it a day on Hatteras Island.  Register for the morning, Cape Hatteras Birding. Leader/Field Expert: Marcia Lyons, retired Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park Naturalist & Field Biologist. $25.00

Thu 10-19-17, 1:00-3:00 p.m. 

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge South Pond Birding for Experienced Birders   Bring your own scope for some serious birding with an expert leader who will help you identify unusual species and direct you to special areas of this usually closed impoundment. Expect the usual songbirds, raptors, migratory shorebirds & waterfowl. Hope for the unique! Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 14500 NC Hwy 12 Rodanthe, NC  27968. 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge on the west side of NC Hwy 12.  Map ID Green N.  Leader/Field Expert: Kent Fiala. $25.00

Fri  10-20-17, 7:30-11:00 am

Ocracoke Island Birding (Distant Trip)   Explore this wonderful 15-mile long barrier island, which is almost entirely in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Target birds are Purple sandpipers, Marbled godwits, Piping plover, Red knots, White ibis, Eurasian collared-doves, Palm warblers and, hopefully, spectacular views of Northern gannets feeding just offshore. Stops will include a maritime forest, marshes, the beach, views of Pamlico Sound and Springer's Point. Meet at the northern Ocracoke ferry terminal parking area. ALERT: This trip is one of WOW's most southern programs. Be prepared for the longer distance travel times. It is 63 miles from Roanoke Island to the Hatteras ferry teminal. You have to wait to board the ferry. The ferry ride is app. 65 minutes. If you are traveling from the north via NC Hwy12, arrive at Hatteras ferry dock by 6:30 a.m. to line up for 7 a.m. ferry. Call 1-800-BYFERRY to confirm ferry schedules. You are loaded on the ferry, first come, first serve. The ferry ride is FREE. Plan your WOW schedule considering the travel time. Look for waterfowl, gulls and pelicans during the 65-minute ferry crossing to Ocracoke. 4x4 vehicles useful but not required. Should be able to make the 3 p.m. ferry back to Hatteras. Save one-day, long-distance driving. Consider pairing this trip with Friday Hatteras Island trips and register for Cape Hatteras Birding or Buxton Woods Maritime Forest Hike.  Map ID Blue S.  Leader/Field Expert: Peter Vankevich. $30.00

Fri 10-20-17, 8:00 am-2:00 pm.

Oregon Inlet Dredge Spoil Island Adventure-Birding, History & More  Join on us on a tour past man made dredge spoil islands. Captain Stuart Wescott, 9th generation Outer Banker, will share local history as you motor along the Oregon Inlet and Pamlico Sound waters on his 53-foot pontoon boat.  We will disembark on a former pelican rookery. We'll explore islands dunes, watch birds and hopefully tag some Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico. Each year brings new discoveries and colonizing animals that swim, float or fly over from the mainland.  Several of these islands are closed during the nesting season, so take advantage of this unique opportunity. Beachcombing is allowed. (This trip was formerly called Pelican Island Safari).  Dress for weather, insects and walking around a sand island. There is a restroom on-board the pontoon boat. Meet: Oregon Inlet Fishing Center front porch. 98 NC Hwy 12, Nags Head, NC  27959 (north side of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge. Please do not park in the store's customer parking area. Map ID Green K.  Leaders/Field Experts: Capt. Stuart Wescott, Brian Bockhahn & Kevin Burke. $40.00

Fri 10-20-17, 9:00 a.m.-Noon.

Birding Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge North Pond by Van  For those who always wanted to explore the far side of the North Pond but were unable to get there, this is the trip for you. Have a seat and save your feet! You will ride in one of two 2 refuge vans as we drive slowly on the 2 mile North Pond service road to look for birds and other wildlife. We will stop along the way to use scopes, binoculars and cameras. On the northwest pumping station turn around you will have an opportunity to see both sound and pond birds. App. half way through the trip, we will stop for a bathroom break if needed. Conditions allowing, the vans will then move from the south end of the pond to the parking area at the north end of North Pond. There you can easily view the adjacent marsh and salt flats.  A few steps away, via the east end of the nature walk, the northeast corner of the pond and the trip's only sandflats can be studied for shorebirds. Target birds are: Black Duck, Brown Pelican, Great & Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Black-bellied Plover, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Herring & Great Black-backed Gull, Forster's and Royal Tern, Red-winged Blackbird, Meadowlark and Boat-tailed Grackle. Dress for weather and insects. The mosquitoes can be fierce! Due to the driving surface, this trip will cancel if we have too much rain. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC  27968.  App. 4 miles south of the Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge on the west side of NC Hwy 12.  Map ID Green N. Trip leaders/Field Experts: John Connors & Jeff Lemons. $25.00

Fri  10-20-17, 9:00 a.m.-Noon.

Oregon Inlet Marsh Birding   Check the inlet’s beach and flats for shorebirds, including Piping Plover. Then wade the marsh in search of Clapper Rails, marsh sparrows (including Nelson’s and Saltmarsh) and Marsh and Sedge Wrens. Bring boots for walking in calf-deep water. This can be a strenuous birding excursion. Co-leader, John Fussell is the author of, A Birder’s Guide to Coastal North Carolina. Alert: Friday and Saturday trips meet at different times but same location. Meet: Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, south end, left-most parking lot (to the left of the fishing boat docks). Do NOT turn right toward the fishing center building. GPS 35.79468, -75.54797.  Map ID Green L.  Leaders/Field Experts: John Fussell, Kent Fiala & Audrey Whitlock. $30.00

Fri 10-20-17, 1:00-5:00 p.m. 

Hummingbird Banding (Family Friendly) (Buxton-South)  We have two different hummingbird banding locations-Roanoke Island (north) and Hatteras Island (south). Be careful choosing the correct date and location.  Hummingbird expert and licensed bander, Susan Campbell will demonstrate techniques for capturing and banding hummingbirds. The program also will provide useful tips on attracting hummingbirds. Both the north & south groups will go to residences that host hummingbirds throughout the year. On Friday the demonstration will be held at a Buxton residence located near the Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve.  On Saturday the program will visit a Roanoke island residence. If possible, bring a folding chair. ALERT: Because this is a 'Family Friendly' trip, two children 12 or under may accompany a paying, supervising adult at no charge. To include your child or children you must make reservations by either calling or emailing. 252-216-9464 or  [email protected]  Meet: Cape Hatteras Secondary School parking lot, near tennis courts, 48576. NC Hwy 12, Buxton, NC 27920 (App. 48 miles south of Roanoke Island). From there you will carpool/caravan following the leader to the hummingbird banding location. Map ID Green Q.  Map ID Blue W . Leader/Field Expert: Susan Campbell. $25.00

Fri 10-20-17, 2:00-4:00 p.m. 

Beginning Bird Photography in the Field (NEW)  Bring your camera for hands-on in the field introductory bird photography class at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Jeffrey P. Karnes is an award winning, professional photographer from Wilmington, NC. Jeff was recognized by the Audubon Society for best bird images on Instagram! During Wings Over Water Jeff's work will be on display in the North Carolina Aquarium gallery on Roanoke Island.  See Jeff's work now at jeffreypkarnesphoto.com. This class will compliment Tyler Jackson's, Introduction to Photography (Thursday 10-19-17, 1:00 - 3:30 pm) class, so that you can practice in the field what your learned in the classroom. We will concentrate on: -Shooting in shutter priority 1. Stopping action 2. Depth of field 3. Light -Aesthetically pleasing composition 1. creating bokeh (Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke, which means 'blur' or 'haze', or boke-aji, the 'blur quality.') 2. dealing with different kinds of foreground -How to shoot action with birds 1. basic camera settings 2. knowing when to shoot-ISO: Knowing the correct ISO for the best shot (ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor)-Camera and equipment recommendations-Inside secrets and advice to start creating amazing photos. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC  27968 Leader/Photographer: Jeffrey P. Karnes. $25.00

Sat 10-21-17, 7:30-10:00 a.m. 

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge South Pond and Beach Birding   The first hour will be spent ocean-watching and searching for and identifying ocean and beach birds. The rest of the trip will be spent birding the impoundments, dikes, and marshes of South Pond. Expect a variety of waterfowl, herons, egrets, wrens and sparrows. American Bitterns are possible. If we have good weather, there is also a chance for an assortment of raptors. With any luck we might find some warbler species in addition to all of the Yellow-rumps! While the emphasis will be on birds, the search will include identifying butterflies and dragonflies that we might encounter (weather permitting). Fun flora facts will be mentioned relating to both human culture and the importance to birds. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC  27968.  App. 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge on west side of NC Hwy 12.  Map ID Green N. Leader/Field Expert: Jeff Pippen. $25.00

Sat 10-21-17, 7:30-11:00 a.m.

Oregon Inlet Marsh Birding   Check the inlet’s beach and flats for shorebirds, including Piping Plover. Then wade the marsh in search of Clapper Rails, marsh sparrows (including Nelson’s and Saltmarsh) and Marsh and Sedge Wrens. Bring boots for walking in calf-deep water. This can be a strenuous birding excursion. Co-leader, John Fussell is the author of, A Birder’s Guide to Coastal North Carolina. Alert: Friday and Saturday trips meet at different times but at same location. Meet: Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, south end, left-most parking lot (to the left of the fishing boat docks). Do NOT turn right toward the fishing center building. GPS 35.79468, -75.54797.  Map ID Green L.  Leaders/Field Experts: John Fussell, Kent Fiala & Audrey Whitlock. $30.00

Sat 10-21-17, 7:30-11:30 a.m.

Oregon Inlet Old Coast Guard Station Birding   Where the ocean meets the sound you will find an interesting selection of birds. Around the historic Oregon Inlet old Coast Guard Station look for land birds and whatever else may fly through the often volatile Oregon Inlet corridor. Walk sand flats to find terns, shorebirds, and Piping Plover. Explore the rock jetty for Purple sandpiper and view the inlet and ocean for waterbirds. App. one mile walk. Meet: Southern Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge parking lot. If you're headed south on NC Hwy 12, this lot is immediately east (left) after crossing the bridge. Map ID Green M.  Leader/Field Expert: Simon RB Thompson. $25.00

Sat 10-21-17, 7:30-11:30 a.m.

Pamlico Sound Birding Kayak Tour (NEW)  This is a trip designed for birders and non-birders alike. On this outing, you'll have both a paddling and a birding guide.  Kayak out of the Salvo Day Use Area (a Cape Hatteras National Seashore National Park Service area) with an experienced local birder and a paddling co-leader. The Salvo Day Use Area is located on the shores of the Pamlico Sound. The tour is designed specifically for those interested in viewing the many bird species that live along the marshlands, feed along the shores, and swim the waters of the sound. Paddling along the shoreline and into coves and canals, you will see the richness and diversity of our wetlands. We will move slowly, stopping at many inlets to view birds. There are usually a variety of shore birds and long-legged water birds, such as Great egrets, Tricolored herons, Willets and Sandpipers. You may also be able to see one of the local raptors, such as an Osprey or a Bald eagle. There is no better way to view this area than by kayak since it is inaccessible by vehicle or foot. Skill level-beginning paddlers and above. If you bring binoculars, camera or items you don't want to get wet we suggest you also bring a dry bag for protection. We provide the kayaks, paddles, personal flotation devices and guides, you provide the paddle power. Meet: Salvo Day Use Area, 5.6  miles south of Rodanthe on west side of NC 12, S. Leaders/Field Experts: Kitty Kayak & Surf School staff and Karen Lebing. $40.00

Sat 10-21-17, 8:00-11:00 a.m.

Birding Portsmouth Island (Distant Trip)  Bird the abandoned village on Portsmouth Island, now part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore and maintained by the National Park Service, and take a step back in time. The historic village is maintained in good shape and was once part of a busy fishing and hunting area. Expect a variety of waders, shorebirds, raptors and thicket-loving birds. The overall experience makes this a truly once-in-a-lifetime birding trip.  Your registration fee covers the chartered boat which transports participants from Ocracoke to the sound side of Portsmouth Island. Be prepared for walking and insects. Mosquitoes can be fierce. ALERT: This trip requires careful planning with lots of travel time. It is Wings Over Water's most southern trip. The trip is unique and wonderful. But we urge you to plan your schedule carefully due to the time and distance involved. 63 miles from Roanoke Island to the Hatteras ferry docks. There is a wait to get on the ferry. The ferry ride takes is app. 65 minutes. Once off the ferry you have another 20-30 minute drive south to the meeting location.  You may choose to spend the night before on Ocracoke. Because of limited room space on Ocracoke, make your motel reservations early if you choose this option. If you're traveling from the north via NC Hwy 12, you should arrive at Hatteras ferry dock by 6:30 a.m. to line up for 7 a.m. ferry. Call 1-800-BYFERRY to confirm ferry schedules. Free ferry ride, first come, first serve when loading onto ferry. Meet at the ferry parking lot, south end of Ocracoke Island. Map ID Blue W.  Save one-day long-distance driving, consider pairing this trip with Friday Hatteras Island trips. Register for, Cape Hatteras Birding or, Hummingbird Banding (Buxton-South) or, Ocracoke Island Birding. Leader/Field Expert: Peter Vankevich. $40.00

Sat 10-21-17, 8:00 am-1:00 p.m.

Oregon Inlet Dredge Spoil Island Adventure-Birding, History & More  Join on us on a tour past man made dredge spoil islands. Captain Stuart Wescott, 9th generation Outer Banker, will share local history as you motor along the Oregon Inlet and Pamlico Sound waters on his 53-foot pontoon boat.  We will disembark on a former pelican rookery. We'll explore islands dunes, watch birds and on the Friday trip only we will hopefully tag some Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico. Each year brings new discoveries and colonizing animals that swim, float or fly over from the mainland.  Several of these islands are closed during the nesting season, so take advantage of this unique opportunity.  Beachcombing is allowed. (This trip was formerly called Pelican Island Safari). Dress for weather, insects and walking around a sand island. There is a restroom on-board the pontoon boat. Meet: Oregon Inlet Fishing Center front porch. 98 NC Hwy 12, Nags Head, NC  27959 (north side of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge. Please do not park in the store's customer parking area. Leaders/Field Experts:  Capt. Stuart Wescott & Kevin Burke  Map ID Green K. $40.00

Sat 10-21-17, 9:00 a.m.-Noon.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge South Pond Birding  The search for birds will include checking the impoundment for waterfowl and migratory shorebirds and also checking the undisturbed vegetation of the dikes and marshes for songbirds and raptors. Come prepared for mosquitoes. Cacti can also be a problem. Wear appropriate footwear. 1.5 to 2-mile walk. Meet: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center parking lot, 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC  27968.  App. 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge, west side of NC Hwy 12. Map ID Green N. Leader/Field Expert: Jeff Lemons. $25.00

Sat 10-21-17, 1:00-4:30 pm.




comments powered by Disqus