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Meriwether Payne provides guided boat tours of the Atlantic barrier islands and marshes based in Wacheapreague. Whether you are in search of scenery, clams, photos, birds, or all the above, it’s hard to find a more personable, and experienced captain. The Virginia Coast Reserve, where Meriwether leads explorations, encompasses over 300 thousand acres of pristine coastal wetlands.
Meriwether is especially enthusiastic about birding tours and specializes in seaside species. (Hint: say “breeding plumage” and gauge her reaction.) Here, the aptly named American Oystercatcher demonstrates its ability to open a delectable oyster underwater.
The Virginia Coast Reserve is glorious at any time of the year, including mid-winter when it’s common to see seals sunning themselves on peat banks.These animals have become accustomed to boaters since they first became regular visitors a few decades ago, and they often seem to pose for photographs!
Many shorebirds nest in the Arctic during the brief summer season there but spend large parts of the spring, fall, and even winter in the Virginia coast reserve. Seeing species like this Semipalmated Plover from a boat is a good way to photograph them without disturbing their feeding and resting.