February 6 - 8, 2015 | Great Neck Recreation Center
presented with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
This is your chance to witness winter wildlife all around Virginia Beach; whether it’s following fascinating bird activity, exploring the natural areas of our community or the musings of harbor seals near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Learn what it takes to properly observe and identify wildlife in their natural settings.
2015 Festival Kickoff: Keynote Speaker, Kevin Karlson
Kevin is an accomplished birder, professional tour leader and wildlife photographer who has published numerous articles on bird identification and natural history for an assortment of magazines, journals, calendars and CD/DVDs. View his work and full bio at kevinkarlsonphotography.com
2015 Registration Information
Registration for the 2015 festival will begin November 15, 2014.
Past participant or recreation center member?
Registration will be available online through EZreg
. To register through EZreg, you will need your client barcode and family PIN. If you do not have this information, you can visit any recreation center
or contact the Outdoor Programs office at 757-385-4461
prior to the registration start date. In-person and mail-in registration will also be available.
For those wishing to register for the first time, registration will be available in person at any recreation center
or by mailing in a registration form.
2015 Schedule of Events
We're finalizing the details for our 2015 sessions and workshops. Please check back soon for a complete listing of activities!
2015 Exhibit Hall
Saturday, February 7, 2015 | 10 am - 4 pm | Free & Open to the Public
All ages | Be sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall at Great Neck Recreation Center and speak with our Winter Wildlife Festival partners and exhibitors, including Virginia Aquarium, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia State Parks, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Lynnhaven River NOW, and Virginia Beach Audubon Society. You’ll learn ways to get involved with local efforts and find out what environmental groups and businesses are up to. Children's activities will also be available at the center and be sure to check out the decoy carvers from Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum!
2014 Walk-Up Workshops
All workshops are free, last approximately one hour, and are held at Princess Anne Recreation Center. Pre-registration is preferred.
Age 12 & up | Did you know that one adult oyster filters 50 gallons of water every day?! In Lynnhaven River NOW's Oyster Restoration Workshop, you will discover many more amazing facts about oysters and how they help clean our local waterways. Learn about oyster restoration projects in the Lynnhaven River and find out about the new and innovative techniques we have been using to build oyster reefs. | Free
Saturday, January 25 | 10:30 am
The Coyote in Virginia
Age 12 & up | Learn about this relatively new addition to the local landscape. Hear where the coyote came from, how it got here, and how it might affect you. What do coyotes eat? Where do they live? Should you be concerned? Come hear the truth about these intriguing animals from Pete Aker, Department of Game & Inland Fisheries Terrestrial Biologist. | Free
Saturday, January 25 | 12 pm
Age 12 & up | Osprey Watch is a worldwide citizen scientist project, which focuses on citizens entering information about nests that they observe. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has joined forces with The Center for Conservation Biology, a research group shared by the College of William and Mary and the Virginia Commonwealth University, to recruit citizens to join Osprey Watch. Come learn about ospreys and how you can become an osprey watcher. A live raptor demo will be part of the workshop. | Free
Saturday, January 25 | 1:30 pm
2014 Excursions & Pre-Register Workshops
We require you to travel with us for these excursions. Transportation provided by Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel & Fisherman's Island
Age 18 & up
| For this year’s day-long trip, we’ll spend the morning on the man-made islands of the CBBT looking for wintering water birds and seals. We’ll stop for lunch at Stingray’s – an Eastern Shore local’s favorite (lunch is not included in price)
. For the afternoon, we’ll head to Fisherman’s Island National Wildlife Refuge. This Virginia barrier island is classified as “a wetland of international importance” and, due to the critical nature of its habitats for wildlife, it is only accessible during guided tours. Additional registration form
required by January 10. Recommended for experienced birders. Meet at Bayville Farms Park for transportation to locations.
| $30; lunch is on your ownFriday, January 24 | 8 am - 5 pm FULL
Festival Kickoff: Keynote Speaker, Noah Strycker
Friday, January 24, 2014 | 7 - 8:30 pm | Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library
All Ages | Noah Strycker is Associate Editor of Birding magazine, and is a well-known writer and “bird man.” His photography and articles have appeared in all major bird magazines as well as in books and other media; he writes regularly for the American Birding Association’s blog. Strycker has studied birds on six continents with field seasons in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Australia, Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, and the Farallon Islands, and his “life list” is approaching 2,500 species. He also works as a naturalist guide on expedition cruises to Antarctica and Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, literally spreading the inspiration of birds from pole to pole. Strycker’s latest project, "Bird World", a book about the fascinating behaviors of birds, is slated for release in early 2014 (Riverhead Books). Strycker is also a competitive tennis player, has run five marathons, and, in 2010, hiked the entire 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. He is based in Oregon, where his backyard has hosted more than 100 species of birds. | Free; registration required
Brought to you by the Back Bay Restoration Foundation. Learn more about Noah at www.NoahStrycker.com.
New! Chesapeake Bay Boat Trip
Age 16 & up
| View the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands up close and personal! The Winter Wildlife Festival is offering its first boat trip for eye-level views of birds, harbor seals and other wildlife on and around the CBBT islands. This is an excellent opportunity to view sea ducks, shorebirds and seabirds. All experience levels welcome. The trip will depart from Dockside Marina
Saturday, January 25 | 8 am – 11 am FULL
New! First Landing Nature Walk
Age 5 & up
| Enjoy a nature-filled walk to unravel the mysteries of First Landing State Park’s unique environment. Explore bald cypress swamps and maritime forest as we go in search of the birds and other animals that make the park their home. See both permanent and migratory birds in the varying environments of the park. Along the way you’ll discover how people have used First Landing State Park through time. This walk is perfect for people interested in bird watching as well as those who just enjoy walking in nature and what to learn more about the park. All experience levels welcome. Meet at the Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to location.
| $5Saturday, January 25 | 8 am - 11:30 am
Pleasure House Point Birding & More
Age 12 & up | This 118-acre site at Lynnhaven Inlet encompasses Maritime forest, beaches, marshes and mudflats. These varied habitats support a wide array of birds and wildlife like songbirds, raptors, shorebirds and is home to many breeding diamondback terrapins. At one time this site was targeted for intense development, but a partnership between the City of Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Trust for Public Land made the reservation of this space possible. In addition to birding, educators from Lynnhaven River NOW will also be on hand to discuss the importance of wetland plants and oyster reefs in this sensitive habitat. Recommended for experienced birders. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to location. | $5
Saturday, January 25 | 8 am - 11:30 am
Saturday, January 25 | 1 pm - 4:30 pm
New! North Landing River Birding
Age 12 & up | Bird Virginia's largest natural area preserve! This unique wetland community, along with the forested swamps and freshwater tidal marshes of the lower North Landing River, supports more rare plants, animals and natural communities than any place east of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. The area also provides important habitat for breeding and wintering waterfowl. Recommended for experienced birders. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to location. | $5
Saturday, January 25 | 8:30 am - 11:30 am
Beginning Birding by the Virginia Aquarium
Age 10 & up
| Learn the basics of bird identification in the aviary at the Virginia Aquarium. Let your instructor share tips and tricks in becoming a better wildlife viewer as you have the opportunity to see 55 species of birds native to Virginia. All experience levels welcome. Meet at Virginia Aquarium’s Marsh Pavilion
| FreeSaturday, January 25 | 9:30 am - 11 amSunday, January 26 | 9:30 am - 11 am
Intro to Nature Photography
Age 16 & up | Award winning photographer, G. Michael Brown will inspire you with his superb nature images. Learn the basics of your digital camera and how to apply them in capturing the extraordinary natural subjects that inhabit our area. Basic concepts of image composition and proper lighting will be highlighted using bird, flower, and landscape digital images. All experience levels welcome. This classroom session meets at Princess Anne Recreation Center. | Free
Saturday, January 25 | 10 am - 11 am
Winter Wildlife Boat Trip
| Here’s a chance to see some of the most magnificent creatures on earth in their natural habitat! Whale watchers will search for humpback and fin whales off the coast of Virginia Beach. You may also see brown pelicans, northern gannets, double-crested cormorants and other sea birds, all of which make a dramatic show while feeding on schools of fish. The excursion will be narrated by a trained Aquarium Educator while experienced volunteers show whale artifacts and answer questions. An experienced birder will also be on board for this trip! Whale sightings are not guaranteed. We adhere to NOAA’s northeast whale watching guidelines. All experience levels welcome. Meet at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center | $23 Adults (12 & up), $18 Youth (3-11), No cost for children under 3
Saturday, January 25 | 12 pm - 2 pm
Back Bay/False Cape Birding
Age 12 & up
| Take a scenic ride through Back Bay NWR on the “Blue Goose Express” observing wintering snow geese, swans and other wildlife. Journey to the heart of False Cape State Park for a chance to further observe and photograph the abundant wintering waterfowl. Scopes and cameras are allowed and encouraged. Due to refuge policy, no stops will be made while traveling through Back Bay NWR. Recommended for experienced birders. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to Back Bay/False Cape.
| $15Saturday, January 25 | 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Urban Birding Tour
Age 12 & up
| You don’t have to go to a wildlife refuge or state park to see birds in Virginia Beach. There are many “birdie” places that are right in the heart of the city where you are able to see a surprising variety of birds. This trip will take you to a few of those places; some of them so easy to bird, we may not have to leave the bus! All experience levels welcome. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to locations.
| $5Saturday, January 25 | 1 pm - 4:30 pm
Intermediate Nature Photography
Age 16 & up
| G. Michael Brown will discuss macro-photography and telephoto lens techniques in a lecture format. Lens selection, from 10mm to 500 mm, will be a topic. The use of filters in nature photography, multiple exposures, and abstracts in nature images will be included among the topics. Recommended for experienced photographers. This classroom session meets at Princess Anne Recreation Center.
| FreeSaturday, January 25 | 1 pm - 2 pm
Twilight Aviary Tour
Age 10 & up | Where's the best place to sleep if you are a duck? What do Night Herons actually do at night? Where do Turkey Vultures roost? Come find the answers to these questions and many more at the Twilight Tour of Owls Creek Salt Marsh Aviary at the Virginia Aquarium. All experience levels welcome. Meet at Virginia Aquarium Marsh Pavilion | Free
Saturday, January 25 | 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm FULL
Age 10 & up | Explore the night time woods of First Landing State Park (FLSP) or West Neck Natural Area (WNNA) looking and listening for their nocturnal hunters.
Great horned, barred and screech owls and other creatures of the night are all possibilities for these trips. All experience levels welcome. Meet at location. | Free
Saturday, January 25 | 6 pm - 7:30 pm
Two locations to choose from:
First Landing State Park (Trail Center off Shore Dr.) FULL
West Neck Natural Area (North Landing Rd. & Courthouse Dr.) FULL
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
Age 12 & up | The man-made islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel that support the bridge provide rest stops for migrating and wintering birds. The islands can offer unusual or locally rare sightings. Northern gannet, brant, king eider, harlequin duck, little gull, great cormorant, purple sandpiper and rarities such as black-tailed gull make this one of the best winter birding sites in Virginia. The presence of the occasional harbor seals and wintering whales adds to the appeal of this unique site. Additional registration form required by January 10. All experience levels welcome. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to CBBT. | $15
Sunday, January 26 | 8 am - 12 pm
Back Bay/False Cape Terra-gator & Tram Tour
| Take a scenic tram ride through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park to the site of the historic Wash Woods community in what is now False Cape State Park. Hike the one mile, round-trip trail to the historical site, where a church steeple and cemetery remain. Ride back along the remote beach observing shorebirds and perhaps whales while riding in our unique beach transporter, the Terra-Gator. All experience levels welcome. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to the park.
| $15Sunday, January 26 | 8:30 am - 12:30 pm FULL
Mackay Island Birding
Age 12 & up
| Located in North Carolina, just
one mile past the Virginia border, this National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of habitats including freshwater and brackish marshes to upland and lowland eastern pine hardwood forests. Its location on the edge of Back Bay and the Currituck Sound, make this peninsula a fascinating place to view winter wildlife including large numbers of snow geese. The Friends of Mackay Island will provide a guided tour of the main refuge. Recommended for experienced birders. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to refuge.
|$5Sunday, January 26 | 8 am - 12:30 pm FULL
Whitehurst Tract Birding
Age 12 & up
| The Whitehurst Tract is a patchwork of marshes, weedy and cultivated fields, narrow freshwater impoundments and pine woodland. This area is known for plentiful winter waterfowl, including impressive numbers of snow geese. Raptors and wintering songbirds can also be found in the varied habitats here. Recommended for experienced birders. Meet at Princess Anne Recreation Center for transportation to Whitehurst Tract.
| $5Sunday, January 26 | 8 am - 11:30 am
Photography Field Session
Age 16 & up
| Join G. Michael Brown at Red Wing Park for this hands-on field session. Participants should bring their digital cameras and will have the opportunity to practice various aspects of exposure, metering techniques, and composition. All experience levels welcome. Meet at Red Wing Park
| FreeSunday, January 26 | 9 am - 11 am
2014 Teacher Workshop: Project WET™
FOR TEACHERS & INFORMAL EDUCATORS ONLY
Obtain the knowledge and curriculum materials needed to teach your students about water resources during this 2-session workshop, where you’ll have the opportunity to network and share implementation ideas. Project WET is a nationally developed, supplementary water education curriculum that facilitates and promotes awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through classroom-ready teaching aids. Designed to teach students how to think, rather than what to think, the curriculum addresses atmospheric water, surface water, ground water, cultural and historical uses of water, and contemporary water management issues such as nonpoint source pollution. Attendance to both sessions is required for curriculum guide/materials and professional development credit. Preapproval of credit may be required by a teacher’s administration.
Download the registration form | $10
Tuesday, January 21 & Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 6 - 9 pm each night
Princess Anne Recreation Center