Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival
October 17 - 22, 2023 and WOW Encore December 8-10, 2023
Brian was born in Niagara Falls, New York. He graduated from the New York State Ranger School. He moved to North Carolina to work for the North Carolina State Parks as a Park Ranger. He is an avid outdoorsman, especially involved with biking, hiking, paddling & birding. Brian has traveled to all 50 states and a dozen other countries to look at birds, bugs and other wildlife. He coordinates several bird counts and numerous other monitoring programs. Brian attended the very first Wings Over Water (WOW) as a participant. In 2005 Brian began leading WOW trips and has lead trips continuously ever since. Actively involved with the North Carolina Biodversity Project, Brian is the lead author of the Arachnids of North Carolina database. http://nc-biodiversity.com/ He lives in Durham, N.C. and is married with pet dogs, fish, snake, chickens and a tarantula.
John Hammond is a Wildlife Biologist for the USFWS and works at the Ecological Services Office in Raleigh. He has a long history with Wings Over Water.
Jeff Beane is Herpetology Collections Manager for the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, where he has been employed since 1985. His interests include virtually anything pertaining to natural history or conservation, especially sandhills and longleaf pine ecosystem ecology and the natural history, zoogeography, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles in North Carolina and the Southeast. Although his primary focus and passion is the herpetofauna of the Southeast, he occasionally glances at birds, especially during winter. A native of Asheboro, Jeff is active in the North Carolina Herpetological Society (newsletter editor since 1986), Wake Audubon (board member since 1995, Vice-President since 1996), NC Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Sandhills Natural History Society, and several other groups. He enjoys all kinds of wildlife observation and photography. He is a frequent contributor to Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, and has authored many other popular and scientific publications, including Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, Second Edition (UNC Press, 2010).
Taylor Piephoff has been looking at birds since his mother lifted him up to the kitchen window to see a red-headed woodpecker fifty years ago. From that beginning, he has studied biology at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and has enjoyed leading birding trips in the decades that followed. Taylor has been active in local birding activities in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, and also at the state level, serving as past president of the Carolina Bird Club, and currently serving as Chair of the North Carolina Bird Records Committee. Taylor lists meeting new people and showing new birders new birds as his most satisfying birding experiences. Through his weekly column in the Charlotte (NC) Observer he strives to reach birders and non-birders alike to provide insight into birding, birders, bird behavior, identification, ecology, conservation, and where to go to see birds. Free time usually finds Taylor in the field looking for something. When birds are not the primary focus he enjoys butterflying, leading frog walks, and nighttime moth baiting.Taylor has been with Wings Over Water since it began!
Michael was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Framingham State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in 2013. He moved to the Outer Banks after graduating to work on a reptile and amphibian survey of Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve. Since then he has worked at several of the areas parks, including Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Jockeys Ridge State Park. He is interested in anything pertaining to natural history and wildlife, however his main passions include looking for and photographing birds and herpetofauna.
Pete Vankevich is the compiler of the Ocracoke and Portsmouth Island Christmas Counts and has led Wings Over Waters fields to these two islands almost since the beginning. He has written monthly nature columns, Spotted on Hill when he lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and currently Spotted on Ocracoke. After a long career with the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress, he fulfilled a 30-year dream and moved full-time to Ocracoke Island where he is, among other things, the co-publisher of the Ocracoke Observer newspaper. During the winter of 2014, he helped more than 250 people see and photograph the Snowy Owls that spent more than two months in various locations up and down the island.
Ed Corey is an Inventory Biologist with North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation out of Raleigh, NC.
Peggy Eubank moved to the Outer Banks in 1971. She began birding seriously in 2002. She has been working hard to make up for lost time ever since, having birded in Texas, Florida and California. Peggy has volunteered at the Pea Island/Alligator River Refuges for several years. She has led bird walks at both, but can usually be found volunteering at the Pea Island Visitor Center on Fridays. She has been leading Wings Over Water birding trips since 2010.
Kevin Markham returns to WOW in 2014 as a volunteer trip leader after a hiatus of several years. Kevin served as a volunteer trip leader for seven of the first eight Wings Over Water festivals (1997 through 2004), missing one year (2001) when instead of leading birding trips for WOW that cold, blustery November, a work commitment required that he console himself with conducting bird and reptile surveys in the Bahamas. After taking a subsequent nearly decade-long break to balance new work-related responsibilities, commitments as a Trustee for the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund (2004-2014), and raising a family, he is excited to be back at WOW. Kevin has been involved in coastal birding in North Carolina for over 25 years. His earliest major forays into coastal birding were as a volunteer assisting with marsh sparrow banding studies targeting Seaside Sparrows and Sharp-tailed Sparrows (shortly before the species was split into Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows), as well as through working with Dr. James Parnell on the coast-wide colonial waterbird surveys for North Carolina conducted in 1988. Since then, as an environmental consultant he has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to conduct bird surveys for projects throughout the coastal region, including participation throughout 2013 with monthly shorebird surveys at Oregon Inlet and Pea Island. In addition to bird and other wildlife surveys, Kevin’s professional work also involves wetland and stream assessments and restoration. Kevin considers his role in the successful establishment of the 4,035-acre Croatan Wetland Mitigation Bank, located in the Croatan National Forest, one of his career highlights.
I have been birding for more than 50 years, and have been a WOW leader every year, from the very beginning. For 10 years I have managed the Carolina Bird Club website, www.carolinabirdclub.org. Recently I've been working at getting into bird photography.
I have lived all over the world and have finally come to spend my golden years on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My favorite places in this wonderful part of the world are the national refuges that were created to preserve and protect nature’s best. From the tiny endangered loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings of Pea Island Wildlife Refuge to the 700 plus pound black bears on the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina and Wings Over Water are much more than just birds. These refuges are teaming with the wonders of nature. Come join us and fill your photo album or memory bank with these treasures the nation has preserved for you.I hope you enjoy your visit with us as much as we enjoy the privilege of presenting this wonderful, magical world we call home.
Susan Campbell has been involved in Wings Over Water since its inception. She is a wildlife biologist who, among other things, works with both the State Museum of Natural Sciences and NC State Parks. Over the years Susan has become more involved with the festival. She began as a driver/leader for the excursions out on Cape Point and at Hatteras Inlet. But Susan has also led workshops and trips at Pea Island and in Nags Head as well. She is also on the Steering Committee, helping to plan the birding trips as well as coordinate the Keynote Speakers on behalf of the Carolina Bird Club. Although she is most well-known for her hummingbird banding activities, Susan has a real love of waterfowl. The recent addition of a tram tour at Mattamuskeet has given her a wonderful opportunity to share her knowledge of ducks as well as other waterbirds. Each year Susan looks forward to meeting new people and sharing her love of birds during the week of WOW.
Interested in identifying nearly all breathing things since childhood Jeff Pippen followed in his father's footsteps by obtaining a degree in Botany from the University of Michigan. While there, Jeff also started birding and “butterflying” by taking both field ornithology and field entomology courses at the University of Michigan Biological Station. After moving to Durham, Jeff got a research position in the Biology Department at Duke University, focusing on ecology and the effects of climate change on forest growth. While working at Duke, Jeff taught Introductory Biology at Durham Technical Community College for 6 years which led to teaching both undergraduate and graduate level forestry, wildlife, and environmental science courses at Duke University until 2013 when he left Duke. His current research projects investigate and document biodiversity across North Carolina and beyond. Jeff started his own consulting business (JP Ecology Consulting), where he conducts wildlife surveys, leads workshops on organism identification and ecology, and markets nature photographs. He has been a field trip leader for Wings Over Water every year except one when family health issues kept him at home. Additionally, he has led numerous field trips for organizations including National Audubon Society, Carolina Bird Club, Carolina Butterfly Society, Sandhills Natural History Society, and the Triangle Land Conservancy, and he's published scores of nature photos in a variety of textbooks, field guides, and magazines. In 2011, his butterfly photos were featured in an episode of CSI: Miami on prime time CBS Television. He's led offshore pelagic birding trips for over ten years and published a paper documenting the first adult Black-browed Albatross photographed in the United States (off Cape Hatteras!). When he’s not birding/botanizing/butterflying, he enjoys physical fitness, sports, movies, and various outdoor adventures.
Marc started birding as a teenager in northern New Jersey in the late 1960s. He was lucky to have some great mentors willing to take a newby without a driver’s license under their wings. After high school Marc’s education journey took him to Maine for 6 years and Pennsylvania for 4, both great birding locales. In 1983 Marc moved to northern Virginia to start a career as a resource economist with USDA in Washington, DC. He lived in Virginia for 35 years, where he frequently led trips for the Northern Virginia Bird Club and taught warbler and shorebird ID classes for Audubon of Northern Virginia. After retiring Marc moved to North Carolina in 2019 to be near his grandchildren. Marc has birded extensively throughout the United States, and has made several excursions to Central and South America.
Fascinated by all things creepy-crawly since he could barely crawl himself, Jeff became interested in birds at the age of ten, thanks to a neighbor who fed her chickadees by hand. Jeff moved around for many years until finally settling down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1988. He founded the local “North Banks Bird Club” and has been leading field trips for many years. He is a member of the Carolina Bird Club, the compiler of two Christmas Bird Counts and conducts a couple of breeding bird surveys each spring. In addition to birding, Jeff enjoys wildlife photography and remains passionate about the natural world. A sample of Jeff’s wildlife photography can be viewed at: http://jefflewisphotography.zenfolio.com/
John & Cathryn Sill
John has been a freelance artist and illustrator for 40 years. His subject of choice is birds, but he also paints other wildlife. John works primarily in watercolor. His paintings have been exhibited in “Birds In Art” at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, “Art of the Animal Kingdom” at the Bennington Center for the Arts, and “Birds: The Art of Illustration” at the North Carolina Arboretum. Among the books John has illustrated are 21 natural history children’s books, written by Cathyrn, in the “About” series published by Peachtree Publishers. For more about John and his work go to http://johnsill.com/
Cathryn Sill began birding with her mother as a preschooler. She became interested in birding by ear while participating in a breeding bird survey. Having trouble spotting birds in the dense foliage of the forest, she realized she needed another way to identify them. Now listening for birds brings her as much joy as watching them. With her husband John as the illustrator, Cathryn has created two award winning series of nonfiction books for children that now include 24 titles.
Marcia Lyons moved to the Outer Banks for a summer job in 1976 and never left. Her background in coastal ecology and wildlife biology landed her a job with Cape Hatteras National Seashore where she served in several capacities, including park naturalist and field biologist. Retired in 2008, Hatteras Island still remains her home base.
Audrey Whitlock is a Virginia transplant now living in South Nags Head since her retirement from Healthcare in 2005. She started birding casually during college in the early ‘70s which led to what her husband terms, ‘obsessiveness.’ Her North American Life List is over 650 species, but has also birded parts of Hawaii, South America, Africa, Vietnam and West Papua New Guinea. She says "everyday you go into the field, you will learn something." Audrey has been a trip leader for WOW since 2009 and enjoys sharing her knowledge of the local bird life with others.
Heather lives in Kill Devil Hills. She owns Kitty Hawk and Surf School. Heather hires, trains and manages up to fourteen seasonal employees. The school teaches kayak, surf and stand-up paddleboard lessons as well as a summer camp for kids. Heather began her adventures with Wings Over Water as a kayak trip leader almost ten years ago. She then became the kayak/canoe trip leading coordinator for the event and has been an active member of the steering committee ever since. Formally an Outward Bound instructor in three countries, Heather has a great love for the outdoors. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology, is an active Coastal Kayak instructor for the American Canoe and Kayak Association, and works at the hospital as an EMT in the emergency department. In her spare time Heather enjoys running, reading, birding and traveling. In the past few years her travels have included trips to Costa Rica, Australia, Indonesia, Barbados, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, and the Bahamas, where she has enjoyed surfing, birding, kayaking, hiking, and stand-up paddle-boarding.
Carson Wood, Biologist, Coastal Plain Conservation Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In 2011, Carson co-founded CPCG with his father Andy Wood, to help support their work with rare and imperiled plants, wildlife and their habitats. Carson holds a USGS Master Bird Banding Permit, and USFWS Section 10(a)(1)(A) Recovery Permit for Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. In addition to contributing to conservation planning for Swallow-tailed Kite, Black Rail, Carolina Gopher Frog, and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Carson also serves on advisory committees for long-leaf pine restoration and Red-cockaded Woodpecker management. He is the coordinator for the Holly Shelter/Lea-Hutaff Christmas Bird Count, and is piloting a new circle for 2016 specifically targeting large adjacent tracts under conservation. Carson’s professional work experience includes coastal plain habitat monitoring and restoration with attention to at-risk, threatened, and endangered species, including all aspects of Red-cockaded Woodpecker research and management.
John was born and raised in eastern North Carolina, where he started birding on his own as a young teenager. His birding horizons were expanded considerably while attending N. C. State University, where he met, for the first time, others with similar interests. With degrees in Wildlife Biology and Science Education, John spent his working life as a high school science teacher. His leisure time has involved birding all of North Carolina and the rest of North America. A regular visitor to the Outer Banks for over fifty years, he has been a trip leader with Wings Over Water since its inception, 20 years ago. He makes his home in Wilson, N.C. with his wife and birding companion, Paula.
Birding leader Steve Shultz offers a prime example of how hobbies can open the door to experiencing unanticipated adventures. Here's is Shultz's story: The traffic, asphalt streets and cement sidewalks reflected the heat, setting off a shimmering effect that distorted the view. The four men, armed only with optics, drove through the crime-ridden area with care not to bring attention to themselves as they stalked their quarry. South central Los Angeles has its own look, sounds and personalities. This is where the infamous Compton, Watts and Spanish barrios are located; they are never confused with Beverly Hills. The men, including Shultz, were searching for the Asian species named Spotted Dove and were certain they would find their prey in this jungle. They were "twitching" -- the British term for making a trip to see one particular bird for the purpose of adding to a birder's list of birds seen, and then immediately moving on to the next target. The non-native Spotted Dove is countable in the United States for birding lists because it has successfully reproduced in the wild for many generations. It is now becoming harder to find, but is still reasonably easy to locate in certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. After some time spent cruising and searching, the men found the bird perched high on a wire near a major intersection. They eased the vehicle into a hubcap shop parking lot to get a better look, and then a couple of street guys sauntered over and leaned up against the car. "Hey, let us hold your binoculars so we can see the bird, too," said one with a sly smile. With cutting looks to the driver to high-tail it out of the area, the men made a hasty retreat out of the dangerous neighborhood with optics intact... and another quarry to check off their lists! And so goes the life of a birder! Shultz a benefits manager for Fidelity Investments, says birding is his hobby and has prompted him to travel far and wide in search of birds. Wings Over Water birding leaders debunk the old stereotype image of birders as being senior citizen nerds. "Birding can be a fairly strenuous sport," said Shultz, "just like many other outdoor activities that folks enjoy. Climbing several hundred feet up a steep mountainside to see a particular type of bird, or slogging through a wet slough or marsh, braving sub-freezing temperatures and bitter winds during a cold December day at the coast, or bouncing across the waves fifty miles out to sea in a small boat to see pelagic birds ... not for the faint of heart!"
Bob Glennon has been a trip leader at Wings over Water every year since 2000. He was the planner that helped the refuge staffs develop the comprehensive conservation plans for the nine national wildlife refuges in northeastern North Carolina. He is now a retired Federal employee after 24 years with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service and 6 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He works for Virginia Tech assisting landowners in southeastern Virginia who are clients of the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to develop and manage wildlife habitat. Bob holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management from Rutgers University and a Master of Forest Resources degree from the Pennsylvania State University.
Joe is the owner operator of Coastal Kayak Touring Company which he established in 1999. Joe enjoys sharing his passion for kayaking and the outdoors with others. Currently, Coastal Kayak offers tours to six locations here on the Outer Banks from Corolla to Hatteras Island. Click here for more Coastal Kayak Touring Company information. He has supported local wildlife refuges and Wings Over Water for many years.