By Steve Shultz
Overview: While numbers of wintering waterfowl at other nearby locations have, in many cases, dwindled over the years due to changes in land use and the introduction of Hyploid Grass Carp for aquatic weed control, Lake Raleigh remains a relatively reliable place to observe ducks and other fowl. Expect from several hundred to maybe a thousand ducks during "good" years. The most common species are Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, American Wigeon, Hooded Merganser, Gadwall, and Bufflehead, but locally rare species may often be found by sorting through the rafts or more common ducks. Other water birds such as Belted Kingfisher, Double-crested Cormorant, and Pied-billed Grebe can also be expected during the cooler months. During spring, summer, and fall an adjacent greenway walking path provides the chance to see resident passerines, summer breeders, and migrants.
Getting There: Lake Raleigh is located on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University. From I-40 take the Lake Wheeler Road exit and proceed north to the first stop light, Centennial Parkway. There is a gas station/Burger King across from Centennial Parkway at this intersection. Turn left on Centennial Parkway and then left on Achievement Dr. Achievement dead-ends at Main Campus Drive. Turn right and then left into the parking lot marked by a NC Wildlife Resources Commission public fishing access sign. Parking is free on weekends, but a $2 visitor's pass must be acquired by birders visiting weekdays between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The parking pass can be obtained at the Visitor's Booth. Continue on Main Campus drive past the lake's parking area and turn left on Varsity Drive. The Visitor's Booth is a short distance on the left.
Coordinates for Google Earth/Maps: 35 46 00.5 N, 78 40 38.8 W
When to Visit: Year round possibilities, but primarily in winter for waterfowl.
Revised 1/1/2009 firstname.lastname@example.org