When: June 9-14, 2013
Where: Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Full-package: $1595 per person (single supp. $400)
Partial-Package: $825 per person
Limit: 20 people
Instructors: George Armistead & Alvaro Jaramillo
Download: Bird list
Cancellations occur, so add your name to the waitlist by contacting Nancy Hawley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at (800) 850-2473, x234.
What is an IFO?
The ABA’s Institute for Field Ornithology traces its origins back to 1983. The IFO was created as an ABA member service with the goal of offering novel opportunities for the study of birds. Our IFO programs combine field birding with an educational element to enrich your birding. They are meant to be fun and educational. Some IFOs are more field-oriented while others have more of a classroom element. Each IFO features expert and friendly instructors whose chief goals are to educate the IFO program’s participants, and help ensure that everyone enjoys a good experience. IFO programs are designed for ABA members and typically have a limit of no more than 25 participants, but often group size ranges from 8-20 people. An IFO may be based at a single location so that each night is spent in the same area, or a program may cover several separate regions, requiring the group to change lodging a couple of times. Most IFO programs are several days in length (4-7 days) but occasionally we offer single-day events too.
Breach the final frontier of birding with two seabird experts who know their tubenoses and also know how to have fun. Take in the warm blue waters of the Gulf Stream off of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, where just a few short miles offshore Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, Cory’s and Audubon’s shearwaters, and Black-capped Petrels work the waters.
The storm-petrels, gadfly petrels, and shearwaters are the primary focus during this 6-day stint, but the ~9 species of terns and the many herons and shorebirds shall not go unnoticed! We will attempt three pelagic trips, and between them George and Alvaro will offer illustrated talks about the seabirds to complement our experiences at sea. Our goal is to see these birds in their element, but also to acquaint ourselves with these stirring and stealthy species, and demystify them by learning about their habits and history. Our time on land will not be reserved solely for discussing seabirds, and we have planned visits to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and national wildlife refuges including Pea Island and Alligator River. For more information or to reserve a spot email Nancy Hawley at email@example.com , or call her at (800) 850-2473, x234.
Click here to see a SLIDESHOW of some of the species we hope to see during this program.
For participants that are flying in and require transport (full package), we will pick you up in Norfolk, VA at the Norfolk International Airport (ORF). Those who are driving themselves (partial package) will meet the group in Cape Hatteras, NC. (Registration information on full vs. partial packages TBA soon).
NOTE: This is part of the ABA’s Seabird Workshop Series . Complementing this Cape Hatteras IFO Program, will be an IFO Program (also hosted by Alvaro and George) on the Seabirds of the Central California , in October of 2014. If you have an interest in the Central California IFO, contact Nancy Hawley (info above) to secure a spot.
George Armistead is a lifelong birder and the events coordinator for the ABA. George spent 2002-2012 organizing and leading birding tours for Field Guides Inc. He has guided trips on all seven continents, and enjoys vast open country habitats and seabirds most of all. Based in Philadelphia, he is an associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and spends much of his free time birding the coast between Cape May, NJ and Cape Hatteras, NC.
Alvaro Jaramillo runs Alvaro’s Adventures, based in Half Moon Bay, California, where among other things he organizes and guides pelagic trips off the California coast. He has been guiding international birding tours for over fifteen years. He is an avid seabird enthusiast and expert, and recently co-authored an article describing a new species of storm-petrel from his native Chile which awaits acceptance. Alvaro is also the author of the Birds of Chile and New World Blackbirds and is currently writing a book on warblers, and one on Patagonia.
The Gulf Stream seas off Cape Hatteras are one of the richest areas for seabirds in all of the North Atlantic. Here the continental shelf drops away just a few miles offshore, and the underwater topography acts in concert with the warm water of Gulf Stream (flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico), to concentrate and attract a wonderful variety of seabirds. In June the numbers of specialty species like Black-capped Petrel and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel are usually increasing, while migrants such as jaegers and terns may still be hustling through. South Polar Skuas are sometimes found, especially on days with good numbers of Cory’s and Greater Shearwaters. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and our eyes skyward with the hope that a Red-billed or a White-tailed Tropicbird might visit us. Yet other rarities present us reasonable chances at this time, including Gadfly petrels such as Herald (Trinidade) Petrel, the dapper Fea’s Petrel, and rarest of all, the Cahow (a.k.a. Bermuda Petrel). Success with pelagic birding is very much a matter of luck and persistence. It is the hardest kind there is, and George and Alvaro will be always at the ready to explain and teach participants what they are seeing, and why. There are other things to look for aside from birds too. Flying fish, dolphins, sea turtles, or Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish often put in appearances, and whale sightings occur from time to time (including rare beaked whales).
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a 70-mile stretch of barrier beach that spans from Bodie Island south on down to Ocracoke Island. It presents birders great opportunities to see gannets, gulls, terns, and shorebirds at a number of locations.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge , located at the north end of Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks, is a narrow strip of barrier beach that is never more than a mile wide at any point. Comprised of dune habitat, saltmarsh, and fresh and brackish marshes, with some ponds and lagoons, the refuge has tallied over 360 bird species since its creation in 1938. In June good numbers of shorebirds and terns are present, and we shall search for Sandwich and Gull-billed terns, and also for Marbled Godwits, (Eastern) Willets, and American Oystercatcher. If luck is on our side we may even find a Piping Plover scurrying around on sands of Oregon Inlet.
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a huge and remote wilderness of “pocosin” habitat just inland from the Outer Banks. It is a swampy woodland filled with stands of Atlantic white cedar and swamp magnolia and true to its name, it ranks as the northernmost point that the American alligator is found. In addition to harboring a number of warbler species (Prothonotary is abundant, while Swainson’s and the “Wayne’s” form of Black-throated Green occur sparsely), this refuge is home to an impressive array of reptiles and butterflies, and also black bears, bobcats, and even a small, managed population of red wolves. We’ll need some luck to connect with some of the more sparsely populated critters at this wonderful wilderness spot, but it is so rich in wildlife, there is always something exciting to see.
Bodie Island Lighthouse Pond is one of the few freshwater bodies along the Outer Banks and as a result it attracts a nice variety of birds. The loblolly pine trees by the lighthouse sometime hold Brown-headed Nuthatches, while the pond provides good feeding opportunities for White Ibis and Tricolored and Little Blue herons. Depending on water levels some shorebirds may be present, and we’ll have to keep our eyes and our ears peeled if we are to be lucky enough to spot a Virginia or a King rail.
Optional and informal gathering atNorfolk Airport Hilton Hotel bar at 8pm.
-Full-package: Our first meeting will be at the Norfolk Airport Hilton Hotel at 7am. Participants should arrive in the lobby having eaten breakfast, ready to depart for birding. Once we leave the hotel this morning we will not return this day. We will bird our way down to Cape Hatteras, stopping at Bodie Island Lighthouse and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Arriving at the hotel before 5pm.
-Partial-package: Meet at 5pm at the Seaside Inn at Hatteras Village for meet & greet happy hours and first lecture. First lecture: Intro to Pelagic Birding: Birding at Sea and an Introduction to the Seabird Groups of North Carolina’s Gulf Stream
First Pelagic trip, aboard the Stormy Petrel II
8am lecture: The Rare Atlantic Gadfly Petrels
10am birding around Cape Point/Hatteras lighthouse area
12:30pm lunch at restuarant
3:15pm lecture: Storm-Petrels of North Carolina
4:30-6pm bird walk
2nd Pelagic Trip, aboard the Stormy Petrel II
8pm show 1-hour film on the Rediscovery of the Cahow (Bermuda Petrel)
3rd Pelagic Trip, aboard the Stormy Petrel II
-Partial-package: After we make land at the end of the final pelagic trip, we shall bid farewell to those who opted for the partial-package, and wish them well.
Bird our way north along the Outer Banks, perhaps stopping again at Pea Island NWR, and visiting Alligator River NWR.
-Full-package: The event ends upon arrival at the Norfolk Airport Hilton Hotel. We shall aim to arrive at the hotel by 5:30pm.