loading spinner
Virginia

Birding Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Chincoteague Island

Program No. 2019RJ
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.
Length
6 days
Rating (4)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,249

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 16 - Apr 21, 2023
Starting at
1,249
May 14 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,249
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
1,249
Oct 22 - Oct 27, 2023
Starting at
1,249
Nov 5 - Nov 10, 2023
Starting at
1,249
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 16 - Apr 21, 2023
Starting at
1,349
May 14 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,349
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
1,349
Oct 22 - Oct 27, 2023
Starting at
1,349
Nov 5 - Nov 10, 2023
Starting at
1,349

At a Glance

During the migratory season, millions of birds along the Atlantic Flyway “funnel” through a small area along Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where more than 400 species have been recorded. Explore the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge’s restricted back country on Assateague Island with Chincoteague Bay Field Station.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Walking at a slow “birding” pace up to two miles on mostly flat terrain, occasional small hills, sand dunes, loose sand. Climbing vintage school bus stairs.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Participate in a guided boat excursion into the marshes and tidal creeks to view these habitats and their inhabitants from a different angle.
  • Learn identification methods using field markings, vocalizations and behavior patterns.
  • Enjoy narrated walks through dunes, beaches, cypress swamps, maritime forests, and more.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. ATTENTION FOREIGN NATIONALS: Part of this program takes place on Wallops Island, which is a restricted access NASA base. In order to participate in the Wallops Island activities, all foreign nationals must complete additional paperwork at least 6 weeks in advance to be allowed access onto the base. Access is then subject to approval by NASA Wallops Island base. If you are a foreign national enrolled in this program, please contact the program provider directly at julie@cbfieldstation.org to request the required forms.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: From the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras
by Kenneth L. Gosner
More than 1,000 illustrations, arranged according to visual similarities, show plant and animal species of the Atlantic Coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. This guide includes information on how to locate each species by geographic range, tidal range, tidal level, season, topography, and climate.
Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay
by William W. Warner
William Warner exhibits his skill as a naturalist and as a writer in this Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the pugnacious Atlantic blue crab and of its Chesapeake Bay territory. This wonderful work contains all you ever wanted to know about the life cycle of one particular kind of crab that lives in Chesapeake Bay (the kind you probably smashed with mallets if you ever went to that area). Surprisingly, for most of its life, the Atlantic blue crab has nothing to do with beer. Taking it for a focus, Warner draws connections with the sea, the rivers, the crab-friendly environment that produced such a wealth of the creatures, and then the people who live from that wealth, the islanders who lived isolated for centuries, but are now firmly within the web of modern life. Warner tells of the marketing of crabs, the catching of other Chesapeake products like oysters, and even of festivals like a Miss Crustacean contest ! You can learn about esoterica like crab pots, the Waterman's Union, the religious heritage of crabbers, and lots more.
Life and Death of the Salt Marsh
by Mildred and John Teal
Life and Death of the Salt Marsh is a book that focuses on many aspects of the ecology of the salt marsh. To quote the authors, it is "about the marshes of the East Coast of North America: how they were formed; why they continue to exist; the interplay of plants and animals; and the effect of that influential animal, man." This book does a very thorough job of covering all these topics. It begins with the story of one particular salt marsh, how it formed, what happened to it when colonists first arrived and used it for hay production, and its eventual death after human impact became so great as to prevent marsh recovery. The remainder of the book gives detailed descriptions of the processes and organisms that affect the salt marsh. These include the geology, history of glaciation, plant and animal species, seasons, and topics relating to marsh pollution and conservation. Considering that this book was written in 1969, thirty years ago, it still seems to have good scientific accuracy. It is interesting to look at this book from a historical perspective, especially the sections on conservation. Preservation of marshes is important for many reasons. The main reason for preservation being that a large variety of species rely on salt marshes during part or all of their life cycle. Many of these species are commercially viable and are (or were when the book was written) important to the East Coast economy. The chapter on pollution control was very interesting. It includes discussion of the use of DDT. Most ecologist today have heard of or read Silent Spring and know about the dangers of DDT. Life and Death of the Salt Marsh was written just before Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, and brings up the many dangers and harmful side effects of DDT. Obvious DDT was an area of concern for many people in fields related to ecology in the late 60's. The entire book could be related to many aspects of ecology and is thus relevant to anyone interested in the ecology of salt marshes.
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
by David Allen Sibley and Rick Cech
Providing birders the convenience of portability, Sibley's newest volume breaks down the information in The Sibley Guide to Birds into specific regions (The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America will be published the same month). The guide includes much of the basic information in the Guide to Birds, such as the parts of a bird and general color-coded maps, but focuses most of its attention on birds who make their home east of the Rocky Mountains, such as the Double-crested Cormorant and the Eastern Screech-Owl. The color-coded maps that accompany each bird show where the birds live throughout North America, so that birders in, say, Pennsylvania, will know to look for the Northern Mockingbird in California as well. And, of course, Sibley's beautiful full-colored paintings of birds jump out at every page-even in small format.
Atlantic Shorelines: Natural History and Ecology
by Mark D. Bertness
Atlantic Shorelines is an introduction to the natural history and ecology of shoreline communities on the East Coast of North America. Writing for a broad audience, Mark Bertness examines how distinctive communities of plants and animals are generated on rocky shores and in salt marshes, mangroves, and soft sediment beaches on Atlantic shorelines. The book provides a comprehensive background for understanding the basic principles of intertidal ecology and the unique conditions faced by intertidal organisms. It describes the history of the Atlantic Coast, tides, and near-shore oceanographic processes that influence shoreline organisms; explains primary production in shoreline systems, intertidal food webs, and the way intertidal organisms survive; sets out the unusual reproductive challenges of living in an intertidal habitat, and the role of recruitment in shaping intertidal communities; and outlines how biological processes like competition, predation, facilitation, and ecosystem engineering generate the spatial structure of intertidal communities. The last part of the book focuses on the ecology of the three main shoreline habitats--rocky shores, soft sediment beaches, and shorelines vegetated with salt marsh plants and mangroves--and discusses in detail conservation issues associated with each of them.





Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.