Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
The 10th annual Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival offers dozens of reasons to join other nature enthusiasts on the Outer Banks Nov. 7-12, which includes the traditional Veterans' Day weekend.
Just can't seem to get close enough to get that perfect shot at a pintail? Both hunters and photographers can get up close and personal to waterfowl by learning how to use decoys and calls on the Pea Island "Duck Hunt."
Participants in this three-to-four hour class will sit in a duck blind while learning how to bring the waterfowl into range. This simulated duck hunt will be offered on Pea Island at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 9 and 10. Cost is $20 for this class taught by US Fish and Wildlife Service technician Brian VanDruten. Cameras welcomed; guns are not.
Nature photographers who want to improve their skills can join Mark Buckler, program director of the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education in Corolla, for a three-hour wildlife photography class. Buckler, also a professional photographer, will show participants how to catch the morning light while exploring for wading birds, fall migrant songbirds, waterfowl and shorebirds. Class members also can take advantage of diverse flora and fauna to photograph along the way. The class will begin at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, Nov. 7 and 9. Cost is $20.
Birders who prefer to use their binoculars and scopes will be offered more opportunities than they can possibly take advantage of during the six-day event. Birding trips are planned for locations throughout the northeast part of the state including but not limited to Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge in Currituck, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Ocracoke Island and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, both in Hyde County, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on mainland Dare County, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Pettigrew State Park, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge which spans Tyrrell, Hyde and Washington counties, and several other locations.
The long list of different birding trips offer a wide assortment of viewing possibilities including shorebirds, songbirds, waterfowl and even Red Cockaded Woodpeckers.
Some of the sightings reported during recent Wings Over Water Wildlife Festivals include Eared Grebe, American White Pelican, Fork-Tailed Flycatcher and the Magnificent Frigatebird.
But Wings Over Water isn't just about birds. History is explored, kayaks and canoes are paddled, black bear and red wolf habitats are visited, and there even is a ghost tour.
There is something for almost everyone during this fall festival and registration is now underway. To learn more, visit www.wingsoverwater.org where some of the programs are listed; for a full listing, download the program guide. Or call the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce at 252-441-8144 to order a program book complete with map and registration forms.
Festival partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, Carolina Bird Club, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, and the Outer Banks Sentinel, as well as a number of local businesses.
Don't fall into the Fall doldrums, come join us for a walk on the wildside.