Black Skimmer

Birding on the deck

Birding on the Deck at the Island House in Wachapreague has been a great success. The idea for this event was hatched by Meriwether Payne of Seaside Ecotours. We brought people together on the deck of the Island House to enjoy watching shorebird migration on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. What could be better than watching birds, enjoying discounted beverages and appetizers, having the use of scopes and binoculars and benefiting from the advice of birding experts in a gorgeous setting? Black Narrows Brewing, from Chincoteague Island enhanced the experience with their Plover Season beer. This brew is made with local ingredients in honor of our special visitors-Plovers. Plovers seen in our area include Piping Plovers, Killdeers, Semipalmated Plovers and Black-bellied Plovers.

These weekly events were educational and fun, drawing teachers interested in expanding their knowledge, a PhD ornithology student from William and Mary, fishermen curious about what we were seeing, avid birders and beginning birders. The experts joining us, Jen Elmer, Sue Rice, Karen Terwilinger, and Barry Truitt graciously shared their vast knowledge with everyone who joined us each week. We hosted visitors from a broad area, including Virginia Beach, western Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.

Photo Credit Zenchi Artworks  Lots of great shorebirds stopped by including Whimbrels, fattening up before their push to Arctic breeding grounds. Clapper rails were vocal but elusive until week five (5/13) when they finally ventured into the open by the piers. Forsters, Least and Common Terns gracefully ventured by each week. Laughing Gulls and Herring gulls awaited the return of fishermen each week for an easy meal. A Red-breasted Merganser was seen as late as 5/20/2019. A Bald Eagle was often seen in the distance towards the old Coast Guard station.  American Oystercatchers and Black skimmers joined the show the last couple of weeks, along with Dowitchers, Dunlins, and Black-bellied plovers in their gorgeous breeding plumage.

Photo Credit Zenchi Artworks

Lots of great shorebirds stopped by including Whimbrels, fattening up before their push to Arctic breeding grounds. Clapper rails were vocal but elusive until week five (5/13) when they finally ventured into the open by the piers. Forsters, Least and Common Terns gracefully ventured by each week. Laughing Gulls and Herring gulls awaited the return of fishermen each week for an easy meal. A Red-breasted Merganser was seen as late as 5/20/2019. A Bald Eagle was often seen in the distance towards the old Coast Guard station.

American Oystercatchers and Black skimmers joined the show the last couple of weeks, along with Dowitchers, Dunlins, and Black-bellied plovers in their gorgeous breeding plumage.

Other birds we saw during the Birding on the Deck evenings included Brant, Osprey, Snowy Egrets, Greater Egrets, Mallard and Mallard hybrids, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Purple Martins, Fish Crow, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern Meadowlark, and European Starlings.

We hope to make this an annual event and are hatching plans for more great birding activities in the near future.  Stay tuned.

Photo credit Roberta Kellam

Photo credit Roberta Kellam