Day 1: Norfolk, Virginia
Arrival in Norfolk, Virginia. We will meet that evening at the hotel for a meet and greet over dinner. Night in Norfolk, Virginia.
Day 2: Outer Banks
After breakfast we will make the 3 hour drive to Hatteras, birding the coast of the Outer Banks along the way at locations like Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We’ll settle into our hotel in the late afternoon, and after dinner, turn in early due to the early meet time on the docks the next morning. Night in Hatteras.
Day 3: Pelagic
The first of our two back-to-back pelagic trips! We will be getting up early to head to the boat dock for a 5:15 meeting time. We will head out on the Stormy Petrel II and be on the ocean all day, getting back in around 5-6pm. We will likely see a good selection of seabirds with Black-capped Petrel, Cory’s and Audubon’s Shearwaters, Wilson’s and Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, Long-tailed and Pomarine Jaegers, and Bridled and Arctic Terns all likely to be encountered. Truly rare species are encountered with quite some regularity with birds like Trinadade and Fea’s Petrels, South Polar Skua, tropicbirds and Brown and Masked Booby! We’ll head for dinner afterwards and head back to the hotel to rest up for a second day of pelagic goodness! Night in Hatteras.
Day 4: Pelagic
We will head back out to the ocean for round two of our deep water adventure. Being that conditions can change from day to day, it’s certainly possible that we’ll see a striking different selection of seabirds and other ocean creatures. Marine mammals like Short-finned Pilot Whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins are also regularly observed on these pelagic trips. Again we’ll return to the docks by 5-6pm and go out for dinner. Night in Hatteras.
Day 5: Drive to Morehead City
We’ll have a leisurely start to our day and then leave Hatteras via a car ferry to head down to Morehead City. We should have some good opportunities to see near-shore animals like Sandwich and Royal Terns, Brown Pelicans and Bottlenose Dolphins from the ferry. It will be a couple hours each of driving and on the ferry, but we will do some coastal birding before and after the journey. We’ll turn in a touch early tonight as the next morning will be another early day. Night in Atlantic Beach.
Day 6: Pineywoods
We’ll be rising early to head out to the Croatan National Forest to spend the day in the beautiful Pineywoods looking for southeast goodies like Red-cocked Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman’s Sparrow and Swainson’s Warblers. Other species we’ll try to locate include Worm-eating, Kentucky and Prothonotary Warblers, Acadian Flycatchers, Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting. If we are feeling so inclined, we may try for some night birds like Eastern Screech Owls and Chuck-wills Widow. Night in Atlantic Beach.
Day 7: Fort Macon State Park
For our final day of the tour, we will bird Fort Macon State Park in the morning and spend the afternoon driving back to Norfolk, Virginia for a final dinner/tour wrap-up. Night in Norfolk.
Day 8: Departure
Our North Carolina Pelagics & Pineywoods birding tour concludes today. You can depart for fights home anytime today.