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News & Observer - Watch the Birdies


getout!getfit! A guide to get you moving.

Watch the Birdies

 By JOE MILLER, Staff Writer -  News & Observer

September 14, 2006

Here’s the beauty of paddling on a fall day: It likely won’t be until later on – the evening, perhaps, even the following morning – that you realize you’ve had a workout.  That’s because you’re so consumed by your surroundings – the crystalline fall sky, the leaves beginning to change along the shoreline, the quiet - that the physical demands of pulling a canoe or kayak through the water go unnoticed.

That’s especially true when you throw another element into the trip.  Birding for instance.

 On Sept. 30, the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) is sponsoring a birding paddle on the Haw River.  This isn’t the Haw you read about when whitewater kayakers get into trouble after a big rain.  Rather this is on a placid, lakelike stretch of the Haw that extends upstream for a couple of miles from the Bynum dam at US 15-501.

 The trip is being guided by Banks Dixon, owner of Frog Hollow Outdoors, a Durham-based outfitter.  Dixon says this is a good trip for novices, that previous experience in a canoe or kayak isn’t necessary since the water here is pretty tame…

 …What will be happening is a paddle through the little islands that dot the Haw in hopes of spotting the fall migratory birds that pass through the area.  Birder Ginger Travis will be along to help with identifying, both visually and aurally, the various species.

 If you can’t make this trip, there are plenty of other organized paddles this fall. [TLC, Great Outdoor Provision Co, Neuse River Foundation and Frog Hollow are] also sponsoring a Big Sweep Cleanup on the Neuse and a Deep River Paddle on Oct 22.  Frog Hollow has various other trips planned.  Check their respective Websites for details…

 A final clarification about the initial reference to a “workout.”  Much of the physical strain that can be associated with paddling is often associated with poor technique.  Most guided trips – including those conducted by Frog Hollow – begin with a short primer-refresher on safety and paddling technique.  Learn proper paddlestroke technique and you may not feel it at all the next morning.  But you’ll still get a nice little workout.

 Staff writer Joe Miller can be reached at 812-8450 or

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