2019
Wallops Island
Birding Virginia's Eastern Shore: Assateague, Chincoteague and Wallops Island
Enjoy special access to Wallops Island and other protected birding destinations, where you’ll learn from experts as you look for the region’s more than 400 species of birds.
Rating (5)
Program No. 2019RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
599
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check In, Orientation, & Birding Skills Review
Wallops Island
D
Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Activity note: Please keep in mind that the workshop schedule is tentative and subject to change due to weather, access, seasons, and other factors. When you arrive you will receive an updated schedule specially tailored for that particular week.

Afternoon: Check in at the Education Center from 3 - 5 PM. Following check in, we'll spend some time becoming better acquainted with fellow participants and program staff as well as go over the week’s exciting birding adventure on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Hundreds of species migrate through this region during spring and fall and many regularly spend the winter months here.

Dinner: Dinner will be served in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria. Our dining staff will prepare and serve your meal cafeteria style, with options ranging from a hot meal to a diverse salad bar.

Evening: Following dinner, we will meet back up to hone our birding skills in preparation of the week’s many birding excursions. Learn and practice key skills in turning any bird seen in the field into a positive identification. Also, get a review of the many resources birders today have at their fingertips; from field guides and magazines to websites and phone apps.

DAY
2
Assateague Island, Chincoteague NWR, & Bird Banding Lecture
Wallops Island
B,L,D
Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Activity note: Please keep in mind that the workshop schedule is tentative and subject to change due to weather, access, seasons, and other factors. When you arrive you will receive an updated schedule specially tailored for that particular week.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station Cafeteria from 7:30-8:30 AM. Each day will present an array of fruits, hot and cold cereals, meats, breads/biscuits, eggs or pancakes for your choosing.

Morning: The road to Assateague Island National Seashore boasts a variety of habitats from freshwater and saltwater wetlands to beaches and piney woodlands. This has meant a massive 340 species have been seen on the island to date. We will be on the lookout for woodland birds like Brown-headed Nuthatches and Hermit Thrush, but by far what will catch our eyes the most are the multitudes of wintering waterfowl like American Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Tundra Swan, and immense flocks of Snow Geese.

Lunch: The Eastern Shore is home to some outstanding American fare and seafood restaurants. Your meal will not disappoint at one of our fine local eateries.

Afternoon: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most visited refuges in the country, but we’ll be heading into its restricted back country to have the birds all to ourselves. The shallow pools, grasslands, and woodlands are managed to provide plenty of food and resting spots for native wildlife and migratory waterfowl, so the diversity of birds will not disappoint! We will pick up where we left off by checking off even more waterfowl. We’ll be on the lookout for Northern Pintail, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser and Ruddy Duck, not to mention the famous Chincoteague wild ponies!

Dinner: Get ready for an authentic Chesapeake Bay seafood feast! Sample local crabs and shrimp or if you choose, grilled chicken, or portabello mushrooms.

Evening: We will begin each evening with a review of the birds that we encountered during the day. Following that, we will hear from an area bird bander as they present up close/in the hand photos of many of the birds we'll see, and hear interesting stories of working with our avian neighbors.

DAY
3
Bay/Park Birding, Birding by Boat, Wildlife Film Screening
Wallops Island
B,L,D
Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Activity note: Please keep in mind that the workshop schedule is tentative and subject to change due to weather, access, seasons, and other factors. When you arrive you will receive an updated schedule specially tailored for that particular week.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria.

Morning: Spend time birding along the Chesapeake Bay at select locations; looking for winter residents as well as sea birds like the Northern Gannet and Black Scoter that have found their way into the bay and marsh channels.

Lunch: Lunch will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria

Afternoon: Climb aboard the Field Station’s research vessel for an afternoon of birding and scientific collection through the golden marshes, one of the most productive ecosystems on earth and what makes the Atlantic Flyway such a popular route for migratory birds. The boats are monitor boats, which are flat-bottomed stable vessels where even birding scopes are usable! We’ll look for a variety of wintering birds taking refuge in the relative calm of the Chincoteague Bay. Scanning the waves will provide great views of Black & Surf Scoter, Common & Red-throated Loon, Brant, and Horned Grebe. As the tide goes out, we’ll pull up along mud flats looking for an assortment of shorebirds, terns, and gulls, including Black-bellied Plover, American Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Forster’s Tern, and Bonaparte’s Gull. Then help use a scientific trawl net to sample the various fish and invertebrates that make up the food supply of all the birds we’ve seen so far.

Dinner: Dinner will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria.

Evening: Wildlife film has played an important role in displaying the vast and wonderful diversity of bird species that call our planet home as well as highlighting the perils they face in today’s world. We will again start with a review of the bird species encountered during the day and then spend the rest of the evening screening an informative and gripping film on the conservation issues that birds encounter each time they visit our very shores.

DAY
4
Wallops Island Birding, Free Afternoon, Ornithology Lecture
Wallops Island
B,L,D
Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Activity note: Please keep in mind that the workshop schedule is tentative and subject to change due to weather, access, seasons, and other factors. When you arrive you will receive an updated schedule specially tailored for that particular week.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria.

Morning: NASA-owned and restricted access Wallops Island provides an intriguing contrast between the innovative science and technology being studied there and the relatively untouched marshes and dunes systems. Resident Peregrine Falcons are often seen on the marsh and on the beach we frequently get up-close views of an assortment of gulls and birds of prey like the Great Black-backed Gull, Northern Harrier, and Bald Eagle. We may be the only footprints of this Atlantic beach all day, so plan to look for shells or just relax and let the birds come to you!

Lunch: Lunch will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria.

Afternoon: This is a free afternoon for you to visit some of the local sites, explore the town of Chincoteague, walk the trails of the National Wildlife Refuge, do some birding on your own, fish, shop, or just relax on our pristine beach!

Dinner: Dinner will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station cafeteria.

Evening: An enlightening evening lecture by our field station staff on Ornithology and the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

DAY
5
Pocomoke River SP, Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Musicians
Wallops Island
B,L,D
Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Activity note: Please keep in mind that the workshop schedule is tentative and subject to change due to weather, access, seasons, and other factors. When you arrive you will receive an updated schedule specially tailored for that particular week.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be a tailgate breakfast served in the field.

Morning: Heading north into Maryland, we will visit Pocomoke River State Park and one of the northernmost bald cypress swamps in the country. This unique habitat adds further diversity to the locations we will visit. Being alongside one of the Maryland's scenic rivers, we may chance an encounter with various waterfowl including Wood Ducks, but our primary goal here is woodland birding with various passerines spending the winter in this unique refuge. Among the thick swamps and woodlands, your skills birding by ear will be tested and honed as we search for Brown-headed Nuthatches, Fish Crows, and Chipping Sparrows and if you haven’t seen our field station’s resident Pileated Woodpeckers yet, the state park is a prime location for woodpeckers.

Lunch: We will pack our lunch with us and eat upon our arrival at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.

Afternoon: Nestled in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art features the world's largest and finest public collection of decorative and antique decoys. As wildfowl have been celebrated in art across continents and throughout human history, the museum collection showcases the contributions of artists who have carved birds both as tools for the hunt and as objects of artistic enjoyment. The center piece of the Museum is the Championship Gallery, which holds nearly 40 years of award-winning and mind bogglingly intricate artwork from the Ward World Championship, the largest bird carving competition in the world.

Dinner: The Eastern Shore is home to some outstanding American fare and seafood restaurants. Your meal will not disappoint at one of our fine local eateries.

Evening: This evening, we will have a wonderfully entertaining performance by a locally cherished musical group. They present Celtic, nautical and original music in a humorous and original way while providing rich historical context to music of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and beyond!

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Wallops Island
B

Activity note: Please keep in mind that the workshop schedule is tentative and subject to change due to weather, access, seasons, and other factors. When you arrive you will receive an updated schedule specially tailored for that particular week.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be in the Chincoteague Bay Field Station Cafeteria.

Morning: Following breakfast, it is time to check-out and say “until next time” to your newly made friends. We hope you have enjoyed this new learning adventure and will join us for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes and happy birding!