2024 Winter Dates & Information
February 10(11), 14(15), 17 & 18 (19), 21(22), 24(25), 28(29)
Space update – Feb 17, 18 (19) trips are FULL, Feb 21 (22) trip has 4 spaces open, Feb 24 (25) is FULL (11/27/23)
*On Presidents Day Weekend there are two trips. The first trip takes priority, so if it does not sail on Saturday, it gets pushed to Sunday, and the second trip gets pushed to Monday. These trips are also a set – so please do not try to register for a single day Feb 17, 18 (19)!
*Price $225 per person per day – no discounts available for winter trips
*Meeting time : 0600 at either Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Nags Head, NC (primary port) or Hatteras Landing Marina in Hatteras, NC (we will send directions to you via email with your confirmation). You can call us a day or two before the trip to double check the departure port! Brian (252) 986-1363 Kate (252) 473-9163 – Please note that Kate will be out of the country for these trips and Brian will be leading a tour in Antarctica from late December until the end of January. We will not take registrations from 31 Dec to 31 Jan!
*Duration 8 to 10 hours
*16 spaces per trip, we have a well heated cabin.
Weather is often a factor on winter trips. In some cases, strong winds force us to remain ashore for a day and or limit the distance we can travel on a trip. With this in mind, our winter trips always have a weather date to give participants a good chance to get offshore. In 2007 we took it a step further to include a weather port, and we will continue with this option in 2024. We also have added some trips during the week this winter – Wednesday with a Thursday weather date – to give people more options!
*We recommend waiting until closer to your trip date to secure lodging! This year we are running most, or all of our trips from Oregon Inlet, but still have Hatteras Inlet as our secondary port of departure!!
Our primary departure point for the winter trips will be Oregon Inlet Fishing Center in Nags Head, NC. There are times, however, when we will operate from Hatteras Inlet if weather will be too much for the port to the north. When the wind is blowing hard from the southwest, Hatteras Inlet can be quite rough and the ocean waters on the leeward side of Hatteras Island are easier to reach from Oregon Inlet. The resultant upwelling off the north beach during these conditions is also attractive to a variety of seabirds. During most winter days, and particularly when there is large swell and or a brisk northeasterly wind, Hatteras is a better departure point than Oregon Inlet. The inlet there is sheltered from the swell, and this allows us to run trips on days we could not from Oregon Inlet or Va. Beach. We have seen many Great Skuas closer to Hatteras Inlet than Oregon Inlet, even on trips that have traveled north of Diamond Shoals. Two of our February Hatteras trips even found Yellow-nosed Albatross just three miles off Avon and another a Black-browed Albatross just a mile off the beach in Hatteras! However over the past few years, winter birding has been better on the north side of Cape Hatteras which is easier to reach from Oregon Inlet. So we will be running primarily from Oregon Inlet in 2024 with Hatteras Inlet as our weather port.
Over the years our North Carolina trips have been very productive for seeing a variety of alcids, Great Skua, and other seabirds not frequently seen on our spring and summer trips such as : Northern Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Red Phalarope, and Black-legged Kittiwake. In the winter of 2012 we saw record numbers of Dovekie from Hatteras with over 800 counted in one day! In 2022 and 2023 we found Common and Thick-billed Murres on many of our winter trips! While our trips off the Virginia Capes have been more consistent in finding Dovekie and Atlantic Puffin, the waters near Cape Hatteras seem better than those off the Virginia Capes for Great Skua and large numbers of Razorbill. Although Virginia Beach is a more convenient departure point for many of you, the breadth of the continental shelf makes these trips much longer in duration than our trips from Hatteras or Oregon Inlet. Good winter birding is much closer to shore here, in some cases, 40 or 50 miles closer than off the coast of Virginia.