Coastal Plain

Virginia map highlighting the Coastal Plain

The Virginia Coastal Plain supports the largest total wetland area in the state, which contributes to the great avian diversity within this ecoregion. Many wetland bird communities remain under-surveyed due to logistical difficulties in accessing their habitats and to detectability issues for particular suites of species. The group has worked to address some of these data gaps. A priority has been coordination on tidal marsh breeding bird surveys, as most of the work on these birds in Virginia has only taken place over the last two decades. Input and volunteer support by the group led to the implementation of breeding marsh bird surveys coordinated by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) at sites on the Eastern and Western Shores in 2007. Like marsh birds, birds of forested riparian areas are woefully under-surveyed, as efforts like the North American Breeding Bird Survey do not adequately sample these habitats. In 2008, much needed baseline data on avian communities in forested riparian areas was collected through a partnership between the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO) and DGIF on the VSO's annual volunteer-based Foray. A total of 18 selected riparian segments were surveyed by canoe and kayak, including 8 segments along 6 Coastal Plain rivers. Results will be reported in an upcoming issue of the VSO's 'The Raven'.

American Oystercatcher banner image by Alexandra Wilke