2026 North Carolina – The Outer Banks

from $3,599
  • Reviews 0 Reviews
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Bird Watching, Wildlife
  • Activity Level Extreme
  • Group Size Medium Group
All about the 2026 North Carolina – The Outer Banks Tour.

Late summer on the Outer Banks – the weather is mild and the diversity of birds is phenomenal. A full day pelagic trip into the Gulf Stream with Brian Patterson and Seabirding Pelagic Trips is likely to produce Black-capped Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Sooty and Bridled Terns, several species of shearwaters and jaegers, and often a rarity or two.

Woodlands, thickets, marshes, mudflats, and sandy beaches retain many resident species and hold early migrants for extended periods. Areas that we will visit include Oregon Inlet, Coquina Beach, Hatteras Point, and Bodie Island. We’ll take the ferry across Hatteras Inlet and spend a day on Ocracoke Island. Some of the more unusual species that we may encounter include American Bittern, White Ibis, Merlin, King Rail, Piping Plover, American Avocet, and Marbled Godwit.

One year we found a Roseate Spoonbill; another year there was a Long-billed Curlew! Among the many songbirds may be Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Towhee, a variety of warblers, and perhaps a Lark Sparrow or Dickcissel.

We will take a maximum of seven participants.  On rare occasion we may extend the maximum to ten participants.

Duration: 7 days
Limit: 4 – 8
Date: 07 September – 13 September 2026
Start: Norfolk, VA
End: Norfolk, VA

US$3,599 per person sharing assuming 4 – 8 participants
Deposit: 25% of full tour price
Single supplement: US$578

We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail [email protected] for details.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Meals
  • Accommodation
  • Guiding fees
  • Entrance fees
  • All transport while on tour
  • Tolls
Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Domestic and International flights
  • Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Personal insurance
  • Laundry Service
  • Gratuities
  1. Day 1 Arrive in Norfolk

    Arrival is at Norfolk International Airport (ORF) in Norfolk, Virginia. Transfer to your hotel, where a room will be reserved in your name. We will gather in the hotel lobby, tentatively at 6:30 p.m. We’ll confirm this time at a later date. From there we will go out for an orientation dinner and to discuss tomorrow’s exciting events.

    Overnight: Norfolk

  2. Day 2 Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks

    After breakfast we will take a short drive to begin birding. The first planned stop is Fort Story, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. We’ll also visit nearby First Landing State Park. At these two locations we will bird the open ocean, beach, pine forest, and cypress swamp. Birds will range from Brown Pelican and Royal Tern to Pileated Woodpecker and maybe a Barred Owl. It is a great area to begin the tour.

    We’ll then head south to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, watching for a Bald Eagle along the way. We will do some coastal birding as time allows.  ALL FIVE NIGHTS will be in the same motel in either Manteo or Buxton, depending upon our departure point for the pelagic trip which is scheduled for Saturday, Day 5.

    Overnight: Manteo or Buxton

  3. Day 3 Oregon Inlet, Coquina Beach, and Bodie Island

    Our first full day on the Outer Banks will include birding at Oregon Inlet, Coquina Beach, and Bodie Island. Hedgerows and thickets are great for sparrows, warblers, vireos, and other songbirds. Herons, egrets, ibis, pelicans, and terns are abundant at Oregon Inlet. We’ll save time late in the day to search for bitterns and rails at Bodie Light, then prepare for a great seafood dinner, and a good night’s sleep.

    Overnight: Manteo or Buxton

  4. Day 4 Hatteras and Ferry to Ocracoke

    Our day will begin at Hatteras, famous for its gulls, terns, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Nearby hedgerows will yield more songbirds and perhaps a rarity such as Lark Sparrow or Dickcissel.

    The ferry ride to Ocracoke will produce many aquatic species, then we’ll explore the island’s vast thickets, salt marshes, and miles of beautiful beach. Although rare in North Carolina, Shiny Cowbird and White-winged Dove have both been found on Ocracoke.

    Overnight: Manteo or Buxton

  5. Day 5 Gulf Stream Pelagic

    We will spend the day at sea in the nearby waters of the Gulf Stream with Brian Patteson and Seabirding Pelagic Trips. Some of the species that we may see include Black-capped Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Sooty and Bridled Terns, Cory’s and Audubon’s Shearwaters, and Pomarine Jaeger. Whales, dolphins, and sea turtles are likely.

    Some unusual species such as Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, Long-tailed Jaeger, and South Polar Skua are well within reason. There is always the chance for something VERY unusual, perhaps a beautiful Red-billed or White-tailed Tropicbird, Herald Petrel, or White-faced Storm-Petrel.

    Overnight: Manteo or Buxton

  6. Day 6 Bodie Island and Hatteras Point

    Bodie (pronounced ‘body’) Island has a great combination of edges and hedgerows for songbirds, pinewoods for Brown-headed Nuthatch and Pine Warbler, and lots of marsh and wetlands for aquatic species.

    We’ll spend more time at Hatteras Point, especially at some of the known vagrant traps where we might find Western Kingbird or Clay-colored Sparrow. Any extra time is useful for scoping the vast flats at Oregon Inlet or looking for migrant seabirds from Coquina Beach.

    Overnight: Manteo or Buxton

  7. Day 7 North to Norfolk and Heading Home

    We’ll depart the Outer Banks, then drive north to Norfolk International Airport for your flights home.  This will be the end of a wonderful experience in coastal North Carolina and Virginia.


30 August 4 September 2007

Top 10 lists are voted upon by the participants at the completion of each tour.

1 – White-tailed Tropicbird – Great looks at a full adult on our Gulf Stream pelagic trip, in flight and sitting on the water.
2 – Great Horned Owl – from one to three birds seen daily on a communications tower near our motel. On the first evening there were two young begging for food from an adult.
3 – Clapper Rail – saw one, heard several on our final evening at a nearby marsh.
4 – Black-capped Petrel – excellent views of this Gulf Stream specialty on the pelagic trip.
5 – Brown-headed Nuthatch – several feeding flocks were quite cooperative near our motel.
6 – Tricolored Heron – adults and juveniles in fresh plumage were seen regularly.
7 – Piping Plover – fine looks at this handsome, not-so-common bird at Pea Island.
8 – Red-breasted Nuthatch – a nice surprise at Bodie Island. An early migrant this far south.
9 – Prairie Warbler – close up views at several locations in and around Pea Island.
10 – Pine Warbler – Several responsive individuals in the heat of the afternoon at Bodie Island.

We had several non-avian sightings of interest:
We watched a Green Anole (a lizard) during our picnic lunch. It went from green to brown before our eyes. There was a Red Bat and a Bobolink on our pelagic trip, both about 25 miles at sea. On a typical North Carolina Tour, folks are happy to see one or two Marsh Rabbits. We saw them daily, as many as 20 at a time!

Amazing Destinations. Beautiful Birds
Cape Hatteras National SeashoreAdventure awaits at the Outer Banks

Pamlico SoundUnforgettable Sunsets

  1. Will we do any birding the first day?

    Yes! We have birding planned if time allows and everything is on schedule.

  2. How should I dress for the tour?

    Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.

  3. Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?

    There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.

  4. What language are tours conducted in?

    Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.

  5. Can you help me book flights?

    Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!

  6. Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?

    While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.

    NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.

  7. Do you provide trip insurance?

    No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.

  8. Are meals included?

    For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.

  9. Will I get seasick on the boat?

    An Gulf Stream pelagic can get rough at times. You should certainly take precautions if you are prone to motion sickness, as the weather can dictate how rough the ride will be. There are various remedies sold at local pharmacies which can help relieve motion sickness and will make your trip more enjoyable.