By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(Jan. 23, 2020) Bird watchers and enthusiasts can experience the beauty of the colder season and seasonal birds and aquatic creatures this weekend during the fifth annual Winter Delmarva Birding Weekend.
The event kicks off Friday and will run through Sunday, Jan. 27, with trips in Maryland and Delaware.
“We do a lot of winter birding … we [watch] year-round actually … everywhere all the time,” Co-organizer Jim Rapp said. “What we’ve tried to encounter with the winter weekend is that really wonderful phenomena of nesters from way up north.”
Waterfowl, birds of prey and seals are the typical creatures that visitors can expect to see during their adventures, Rapp said.
The types of birds in the area during the winter months are special due to their migratory pattern. While flying south for migration is common for most, south does not always immediately mean warmer weather, Rapp said.
“Migration is all about food, and a lot of these birds, there’s just not a food supply up north when the ground is covered in snow or open water is iced in,” he said. “Then, they can’t feed. So, a lot of people think migration is all about going from cold to warm.
“These birds want to stay chilly, but they need open water and they need food and down here because of our shallow Chesapeake Bay the coastal bays and the ocean, there’s a ton of food still here,” Rapp continued. “You’re not going to see these birds in Florida. You’re not going to see them in Mexico. So, we really are the southern range for winter.”
Since many of the coastal birds arrive to the area by November, they could leave by March or April, Rapp said, which is what makes this birding weekend unique.
Last year, around 118 species of birds were observed, he added.
There are still spots available for several trips that will take place over the course of the weekend. Each trip costs $25 per person, although three events are sold out. Visit www.delmarvabirding.com for a full description of each trip.
Bird-watching events with spots still available are:
- Chincoteague Bay Wilderness Landings Tour, 8-11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 24
- Birds of Bombay Hook, 8 a.m., Friday, Jan. 24
- Assateague, Rum Point and Bayside Ponds day trip, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24
- Mispillion Inlet to Fowler Beach, 1:30-5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24
- Ocean City inlet, Sunset Park and West Ocean City Harbor, 8-11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 25
- Cape Henlopen State Park, 8-11 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 26
There will also be social events after bird watching.
The Berlin Tally Rally will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Jan. 24 at Burley Oak Brewery in Berlin. The Lewes Tally Rally will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Jan. 25 at Irish Eyes on 213 Anglers Road in Lewes, Delaware. Food and drink will be available for purchase at each location.
Rapp said attendees signing up for the winter birding weekend would be able to catch a glimpse of some migratory birds such as snowy egret, great egret, cattle egrets, green heron, great blue heron, little blue Heron and glossy Ibis, which they might not see during the high season.
The event is geared toward novice and experienced birders and attendees will be paired with knowledgeable guides, but Rapp stressed the importance of having fun on the trips.
“Winter is a time we don’t do much,” Rapp said. “There’s no skiing or sledding. Very often we stay inside and with birders, we just have to put on the right clothes. Get your coat, your gloves and your hat. If you go outside in winter [either] with a guide we provide or just with a pair of binoculars, you really will be amazed at the diversity of birds out there,” Rapp said.
The 25th annual spring Delmarva Birding Weekend is scheduled for April 23-26.
To register for a trip, visit the event’s website at www.delmarvabirding.com.