Over the weekend 20 of us went down to view the Purple Martins that roost under the William B Umstead Bridge, which is the “old” Hwy 64 bridge to Manteo from Wanchese. Between June and September, over 100,000 Purple Martins, from as far away as Virginia spend the nights here before migrating down to South American for the winter. During the day the birds eat insects as they soar over the surrounding islands and farms.
Watching the birds arrive at the roost at night is quite a spectacle: clouds of Martins flying in from all directions! The noise is amazing as they arrange themselves on the I-beams below the bridge. One of the reasons this is such a popular roost is because its above water, which prevents many predators from getting the birds.
The bridge has special flashing speed limit signs warning motorists to slow down for the birds (though sadly, many people do not). There are hopes that maybe a fence can be put up. Dare county is going to build a viewing platform at the Wanchese end of the bridge for folks to watch the birds from.
For more information, check out The Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society’s webpage. Thanks to everyone who came on the trip this weekend!
We want to know what you think about everything WAS does! Please take our online survey. Its very easy, and you can find it right here. The survey will be available until Sept 5.
Just for us, Great Outdoor Provision Company is giving us some try before you buy canoe and kayak demonstrations! Come check out birdwatching friendly kayaks at Lake Crabtree!
Great Outdoor Provision Co. will be offering a small, informal canoe and kayak demonstrations located conveniently at Crabtree Lake on July 2nd from 4pm – 7pm. We would like to make this demo available to members of the Wake Audubon Chapter. This is a great opportunity for members of the birding community to “try before you buy”, that boat you saw in our shop. The demo environment is instructional, informational, and informal. This particular demo we are pleased to have free Instructional Tips and Pointers from Robert Smith of Watersmyth Kayaking – local leaders in Touring/Coastal Kayak Instruction.
On July 2nd we will focus on the Hurricane kayaks, a North Carolina based manufacturer that has several models that are perfect for birding. The Tampico 140S is a great boat for birders and we’ll have this model for your test paddle. Our Thursday Afternoon Demo is geared toward customers who have narrowed down their choices after visiting one of our shops and feel that some on-water time prior to purchase is necessary. Please let us know in advance if you are planning to attend the demo by contacting our shop at 919-833-1741.