Wingard’s Market has announced the official opening of the 2023 Purple Martin Tour Season on Lake Murray. The 2-hour guided boat tours will take place every Tuesday – Friday from June 27 – August 25.
People will learn about the natural history of Purple Martins as well as why they’ve been coming to Lake Murray for nearly 40 years.
Depart from Jake’s Landing Marina, located at 220 Jakes Landing Road in Lexington
Cast off is at 7 pm and return at 9 pm.
Cost is $50 per adult, $45 per child that is 13 and younger.
To register visit wingardsmarket.com/purple-martins.
The phenomenon of the Purple Martins that happens annually around Bomb Island on Lake Murray has drawn scientists and bird enthusiasts since its discovery in 1988. One of them, Zach Steinhauser, a Lexington local, spent many years researching and following the purple martins to put together his documentary, Purple Haze: A Conservation Film, about the local summertime event. Steinhauser is a United States Coast Guard licensed Captain who has been all over the United States and Brazil to study Purple Martins and to educate and inspire others to help preserve the songbirds for generations to come.
Purple Martin Facts:
• As many as 750,000 purple martins gather each evening in July and August to feed, socialize and rest on Bomb Island
• The roost is so large it has been seen on radar and is the largest in North America.
• In the morning, they fly off, as far as 100 miles away, to prepare for their migratory flight to South America, in late August.
• While not endangered, the Purple Martins have faced about a 40 percent decline as a species in the last 50 years because people have steadily stopped putting up housing and provided nesting habitat for Martins to bring in future generations.