Whether you’re a first time visitor to the area or you’ve visited before, there are many ways you can enjoy Fisherman Island. You can go hiking, swim in the lake, or even visit the museum and exhibits. However, if you want to get the most out of your visit, you need to know some key things about the area.
Birding on Fisherman Island during migration
Located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, Fisherman’s Island is an ideal stopover for migratory birds and waterfowl. The island offers an incredible diversity of coastal habitats. Fisherman’s Island is also home to many nesting colonies of birds. You can observe many of these colonies with binoculars. However, most of these colonies are closed to the public from April through September. The IBA also supports over 5,000 waterfowl during migration.
Fisherman’s Island is the southernmost barrier island in Virginia, and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes it a great place for birding during migration. In the autumn, the island plays host to hundreds of thousands of Snow Geese. These birds migrate in large flocks and temporarily block out the sun.
Common loons are also found on the island. Common loons are also known as American Oystercatchers. In addition, you can also spot a variety of raptors on the island. You can see hawks in the fall as well as American kestrels and Cooper’s hawks. You can also catch a glimpse of loggerhead turtles.
Other birds you might be able to catch while birding on Fisherman’s Island include Black-capped Petrels and Eared Grebes. Petrels are known for their odd mating calls. In the wild, they can be heard calling from a distance. The elusive Eared Grebe is a rare visitor.
Other species of birds that can be seen in the area include wrens, egrets, rails, and raptors. Some of these species are also found on nearby barrier islands. They nest in colonies throughout the Chesapeake Bay. They are also known for their ability to raise fuzzy baby birds.
Another bird that you can spot in the area is the red-billed tropicbird, which is known for wandering to Great Britain. It’s one of the longest animal migrations in the world, and makes a 44,000-mile journey each year.
While you’re birding on Fisherman’s Island, you can also check out the Eastern Shore Birding Festival. This event is held each year in the salt marshes of the area. This festival has been held for three years now and is a great opportunity to see a variety of birds. During the event, you’ll be able to enjoy the salt marshes and tidal ponds of the area.
Other interesting wildlife in the area includes raptors, wrens, rails, and herons. If you are looking for other great birding spots in the area, you should check out Kiptopeke State Park, Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, and Cape Charles Harbor.
Birding on Fisherman’s Island is a great way to learn more about the local ecosystem. If you want to learn more about the island and its habitat, you can always contact the Refuge or call and schedule a tour. However, you will need to make advance reservations.
Birding on Fisherman Island during the winter
Located in Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge is a good place to see a wide variety of species. While most species spend the summer on the island, many of them migrate in winter. During migration, the island becomes a potluck of species. Some of the birds are local, and others may travel quite a distance in search of food.
In late winter and early spring, Fisherman Island can be a great place to see grebes, loons, and waterfowl. These species tend to congregate in shallow areas during low tide. The area is also ideal for watching dabbling duck species, which fly into the interior freshwater bodies.
The island also serves as an excellent refuge for nesting birds. Many species are protected, and nesting colonies are often closed to the public during the nesting season. Many of these nesting colonies can be viewed with a pair of binoculars.
The island is an ideal location to view Bald Eagles. Bald Eagles often perch in trees on Fisherman Island during concentrations of waterfowl. The area can also be a good place to view Piping Plovers. The plover is usually seen on the open flats during the winter.
Birding on Fisherman Island during the fall and winter can be difficult, as most birds only use the island for a short period of time. This makes it difficult to identify species. The most common species found are sea ducks and grebes. Shorebirds, especially terns, are especially vulnerable to storm activity.
The area is also a good place to see Red-breasted Merganser and Red-necked Grebe. These birds are rarely seen in Virginia, but Fisherman Island offers them a safe haven. A flock of 179 Red-necked Grebe was seen here in 2006.
The island is also a good place to see the rare Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle. This rare beetle hangs on by a thread. This beetle is rarely seen in Virginia in the winter, but it’s possible that it’s on Fisherman Island.
The island’s habitats are similar to those of the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. The area is a salt marsh, scrub-shrub, and sandy beach, providing a wide variety of habitats for a wide variety of birds. It is monitored by refuge personnel and local scientific groups.
Fisherman Island’s coastal mudflats provide many roosting opportunities for waterfowl. It is also a good place to watch raptors, especially during the fall and winter months. Many raptors migrate to this area, and can gather in large numbers. For example, King Eiders were seen here in March 1987. Other rare raptors include the Mississippi Kite, Northern Goshawk, and Ferruginous Hawk.
Birding on Fisherman Island during fall and winter can be challenging because of the many species that are present, and because most birds only use the island for a brief period of time during migration. However, it’s possible to gather a list of over 20 species in a morning.
Other ways to enjoy Fisherman Island
Besides fishing, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Fisherman Island. The island is a quaint spit of land that is a haven for both birds and humans. It’s an ideal location to view a variety of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys and the occasional dolphin. In fact, many bird species make the island their nesting site of choice.
A number of the island’s most famous residents make the island their home during the winter, including American oystercatchers, royal terns, and several species of migratory waterfowl. For those who prefer the outdoors, there are several trails, including a paved pathway leading to the beach.
A number of local scientific groups are keeping tabs on the various habitats and ensuring that the area is not overrun by non-native species. Although the island is now a national wildlife refuge, public access is restricted. During the spring and summer months, the habitats are closed to the public in order to preserve the avian and marine life that makes this an important part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCAR) works in conjunction with several other agencies to ensure that the natural areas remain in top notch condition.
The best way to enjoy Fisherman Island is to take a guided tour. The Eastern Shore Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists leads these tours. On these tours, naturalists are able to highlight the best spots on the island and explain the history of the island. In addition to the usual suspects, these tours also educate visitors about the ecological processes that keep the island alive and well.
In addition to tours, there are several other ways to enjoy Fisherman Island. One of the most popular is the annual birding festival held in June. This is a great time to catch a glimpse of some of the more rare species, like the American White Pelican, as well as the bald eagle. This year, a special exhibit featuring live bald eagles, hawks, and other feathered friends is sure to please even the most jaded of birders.
Other ways to enjoy Fisherman Island include boat tours and hiking. These tours are offered by various local organizations, including the Eastern Shore Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists. During the spring and summer months, most tours take visitors on a brief tour of the island’s scrubby habitats, which are home to an array of birds, including oystercatchers, ospreys and bald eagles. Although most tours cover a small area, the most popular ones cover several miles of beach. The island is also a good spot to catch a glimpse of the Magnificent Frigatebird, a seabird that lives along the coast.
Despite its growing population, Fisherman Island is still one of the best spots in the Bay to view birds, thanks in part to its unique location.