Shorebirds tend to be very scarce in the Triangle unless there is a dry spell and lake levels drop. This tends to happen in late summer and early fall, but sometimes conditions remain good into early winter.
When Jordan Lake drops to 214 feet (above sea level) or lower, it has some of the best shorebirding spots in the Piedmont [current lake report]. The best spots for shorebirding at Jordan are the New Hope Creek mudflats and the Morgan Creek mudflats. Both of these can have hundreds of shorebirds, egrets, ducks, and other goodies but cannot be birded quickly or easily. If you don't have at least 4 hours to spend looking, the best spots are the Farrington Road bridge and the NC 751 bridge. There's an old road bed at the Farrington Road bridge where you might see a shorebird or two even if the lake is a little high. If this road bed is underwater, then you probably won't see any shorebirds at Jordan.
Falls Lake is also one of the best shorebirding areas in the Piedmont when the lake is below a certain level. Particularly good spots include the Will Suitt Road RR grade (one of the first areas to be exposed as water levels drop) and the railroad bridge - south (better for shorebirds) or north access. All of these options involve long hikes. If lake levels are very low, however, sandbars will appear at the Cheek Road causeway, which requires no hiking.
In the Raleigh area, Lake Crabtree may have a few shorebirds on the lawn even if water levels are too high elsewhere. The dairy pond on Lake Wheeler Road is always worth a stop and often has a few shorebirds on the pond margins.
A spot in Durham County that can have shorebirds (regardless of how much rain there's been) is the wastewater treatment plant on NC 55.
Orange County has few shorebirding spots. Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake occasionally have some when water levels are low.
Revised 1/24/2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
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