Ocean City Today
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Activities during Delmarva Birding Weekend filling up

By Brian Gilliland | Apr 20, 2017
Photo by: Submitted photo Barred owl

(April 21, 2017) Next weekend is one for the birds as the Delmarva Birding Weekend spaces events out throughout the county, while the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art hosts its annual carving competition at the Ocean City  convention center on 40th Street.

While carvers and artists have been working for months on pieces to submit to the contest, the birding weekend is a much more ad hoc affair, with reservations being taken up until the last minute.

“If it doesn’t say sold out on the website www.delmarvabirding.com, and you want to come, just give us a call — Dave Wilson and I will have out cellphones on us and our numbers are listed on the site,” Jim Rapp, event organizer, said.

Rapp and Wilson formed Conservation Community Consulting in 2015 to help promote ecotourism and other environmentally conscious projects, like birding weekend and Delmarva Paddling Weekend.

If there is space, Rapp said, “you’re in.”

But not every trip has a limit on the number of people who can attend. Some, particularly the Shorebird Explorer boat trip from the inlet in OC, isn’t likely to fill up no matter how many people show up.

“I will warn you that those trips are colder than they look. The wind comes off the water and brings everything down a few degrees,” Rapp said.

Rapp said participants should rely on the adage of it’s better the have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it.

That trip is next Saturday at 2 p.m.

Apart from that, the trips span locales, species and degree of commitment to see the shore’s selection of fine feathered friends, as some trips require only a bit of walking while others involve kayaks.

And there’s no need to be an accomplished or even dedicated birder to enjoy what the shore offers in terms of wildfowl.

“The hardcore guys, the really really serious birders don’t need us — they already know where the species are and how to find them,” Rapp said.

What remains is a chance to explore some of the less-visited areas of the county and the chance to learn a little about the local wildlife.

“I think one thing we stumbled onto in the 20 years we’ve been doing this is something I like to call ‘social birding.’ It’s an interesting little niche,” Rapp said. “It’s not a club, because clubs have dues and meetings, but something people want to give a try and end up coming back for another tour or the next year.”

Rapp said about 70 percent of the people who have already registered are repeat customers, and despite opening registration a bit later, attendance appears to be similar to last year’s weekend.

Many of the trips are similar to last year’s offerings as well, as Rapp explained they were all popular and worth repeating.

Plus, as is the case with Sunday’s WARBLERMANIA! event, even though the trip is fundamentally the same, the timing is a bit different.

“Last year we were a week earlier, and that makes a huge difference for warblers. It’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty good year,” Rapp said.

For more information, including trip schedules and costs, visit www.delmarvabirding.com.

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