Winter Birding Event Planned For Next Weekend

SNOW HILL – Due to the popularity of the annual Delmarva Birding Weekend, organizers are now offering two of the celebrated birding extravaganzas in both January and April.

“We enjoy such a big difference in bird species in winter and spring, it just made sense to open up two weekends,” said Worcester County Tourism Director Lisa Challenger.

Now duck, raptor, and shorebird lovers can get a winter taste of Delmarva, January 29-31 during the first Delmarva Birding Weekend of 2016.

Traveling thousands of miles, the harlequin ducks, razorbills, swans, shorebirds, and falcons are on full display in the mid-Atlantic for about four months a year. The only way to see these birds is to shed those winter blues, dust off the binoculars and get outside.

Guided by local birders with decades-long experience on the shore, the walking tours, boat trips and canoe and kayak paddles during both weekends will accommodate visitors from the curious nature lover to fowl fanatics. Every year, birdwatchers from surrounding states flock to the event.

“If participants thought the April weekend was spectacular, wait ‘til they see what winter has to offer,” said guide and organizer Jim Rapp. “The sheer number of bald eagles and ducks will blow people away.”

Boasting patient and fun-loving guides, the new winter trips will feature a near-shore maritime boat cruise to enjoy pelagic and arctic migrants, eagle-watching trips, and jaunts in Delaware and Maryland through some of the most pristine habitats on the East Coast.

“Delaware is teeming with bird species in winter,” said Southern Delaware Tourism Director Scott Thomas. “And this is a great place to experience them.”

The Delmarva Peninsula is one of the country’s premier birding areas, thanks to an extensive variety of habitat protected by our coastal parks, refuges and wildlife management areas. More than 400 bird species have been recorded in the region and previous weekend tallies have topped 200 species.

If boasting that many species isn’t enough, participants should feel even better knowing that they’ve helped Delmarva’s birds by promoting birding and habitat conservation. Birders, both novice and experienced, make an important statement about the economic value of birds and their habitats through the money they spend in local hotels, restaurants, and shops. Participants are encouraged to remind local businesses that they are here to enjoy Delmarva’s natural areas and the birds that inhabit them.

“It’s our vast shallow bays and large tracts of protected marshes and bald cypress forests that make the Delmarva Peninsula one of the finest birding regions in the nation,” said Rapp. “During the weekend, our guests will hike on private farmland and woodland that are normally off-limits to birders, and our waterborne trips go where the birds are. In late April we will see more brightly colored warblers and wading birds either arriving to breed or moving north. In the winter, we are overwhelmed by an incredible diversity of ducks, shorebirds and raptors by the hundreds of thousands, and winter will get you great looks at larger birds.”

Co-organizer Dave Wilson added that none of the trips were physically taxing and that either event provides a rare opportunity to tally 100 species in a day in places that are normally inaccessible to birders.

Additional sponsor and registration information, field trip descriptions and other resources for Delmarva Birding are available at www.delmarvabirding.com. To become a sponsor or for additional information, contact Rapp (443-614-0261) or Wilson (443-523-2201) at Conservation Community Consulting at conservationcc@gmail.com.