Swans and Swan Days arriving at Mattamuskeet

The first weekend of December makes a nice getaway weekend if you like waterfowl, wildlife art and beautiful scenery.

The Hyde County Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are teaming up again to host Swan Days on Dec. 4-5 at the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. The free event celebrates the refuge, Mattamuskeet Lodge and the tundra swans that migrate to winter on shallow, 40,100-acre Lake Mattamuskeet.

“The birds are already showing up. There’s thousands and thousands of swans and geese. I believe this front [Thursday] will bring a lot more in,” said refuge manager Pete Campbell, who emphasized binoculars as an essential piece of equipment for visitors.

Dec. 4, a Friday, will focus on hands-on activities for area school children, exhibits and wildlife viewing 9 a.m-4 p.m.

The main event 9-4:30 Dec. 5 will include waterfowl calling contests, kids activities, exhibits including blue crab and alligator research, artists, craftsmen, food, photography, music and more. A caravan will take people in their own vehicles to watch birds. Dr. Lewis Forrest of the Mattamuskeet Foundation will present a program at noon.

Among the artists will be Garner’s Duane Raver, whose painting of five swans in flight over the lodge will benefit the festival. The original will be auctioned, and prints will be sold.

“They’re really going full blast,” Raver said. “… I’m signing 250 prints in the next few days.”

Watch for updates at www.swandays.com or on Facebook. Get on the stand-by list for four bird-watching tram tours at 252-926-4021.

Decoys and calling: The 28th Core Sound Decoy Festival will take place Dec. 5-6 on Harkers Island in Carteret County.

The Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild and International Wildfowl Carvers competitions have categories for all ages. Duck, goose and swan calling contests also will be held. Go to www.decoyguild.com.

Waterfowler gifts: Core Sound Christmas Open House will be held Nov. 21 at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island. Go to www.coresound.com.

Turkey shoot: Elizabeth United Methodist Church will hold a turkey shoot 5-10 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Cleveland community at 4269 Cleveland Road, Smithfield. The cost is $5, or five shots for $20. Go to www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-United-Methodist-Church-193409868856.

Turkey shoot 2: The East Wake Republicans wrap up their turkey shoot at 7 p.m. Nov. 20-21 in Knightdale at the Raleigh East Airport at 725 Three Sisters Road. Fee is $5-$7.

Gun show: The Dixie Gun & Knife Show returns to the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 21 and 10-5 Nov. 22. Vendors also feature ammo, reloading supplies and military surplus and collectibles. Admission is $9 for ages 12-up. Find a coupon at www.dixiegunandknifeshow.com.

Send news and announcements to outdoors@newsobserver.com.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT