Seven members of the PBC participated in the annual PBC birding trip to the Outer Banks. Peggy Young and Jim Stimson (new to this trip) arrived Tuesday to spend a week at the coast and the rest arrived Wednesday afternoon. We met for dinner at one of our favorite seafood restaurants to plan the next day's outing. This was Thanksgiving Day and the only day of the long weekend when there would be no hunting permitted at Lake Mattamuskeet NWR, making it the best day to travel the 62 miles from Manteo to bird this special area with so much to offer.
One of the best experiences I had during the weekend was the view of hundreds of snow geese at least a mile across Lake Mattamuskeet from us. The noise was deafening (in a nice way) even from a distance as they lifted off the water several times, making a cloud of white against the trees behind them, and then settled back down on the water. We suspected an eagle might be the reason for their taking to the air but nothing was confirmed. Viewing through a scope made these images even more spectacular
On Friday we went to the Pea Island NWR Visitors Center to join the weekly bird walk led each Friday by Neal and Pat Moore from Buxton. The cold temperatures and brisk winds were brutal and some of us decided to stay in the warm Visitors Center and scan the North Pond for birds through scopes set up inside the picture window.
Carolyn Allen contributed the following recounting of the trip:
The greatest challenge to our Thanksgiving birding was not the temperature (although it was cold) but the wind! We birded inland on Thursday (Lake Marttamuskeet), hoping that Friday for Pea Island Refuge, Bodie Island and other stops along the coast, the wind would be less a problem. Such hopes were literally blown away. At times on Friday on the ocean side you couldn't keep a telescope steady enough to use while blowing our noses and wiping tears from our eyes.
The Visitor Center at Pea Island proved a welcome respite from the wind and cold. The Moores asked the group that had gathered for the field trip at North Pond to step inside to use the telescopes there for preliminary views of ducks, wading birds and white pelicans. Neal Moore invited any who wished to walk to the overlooks on the dam to go with him. Three of our hardy group did so. But Jim Strickland, Emily and I enjoyed comfortable birding from inside, listening to Pat Moore's wisdom regarding the birds and the Outer Banks. Sometimes it's the better part of wisdom to be a wimp!
Anne Presnell shared these memories:
The entire trip was great and we saw a lot of birds, so it's hard to pick highlights. My favorite memory is the Marsh Wren that we heard and finally saw at the Bodie Island boardwalk. We heard it calling very close on both sides of the boardwalk, and it finally jumped up long enough to give us a good look. Another memory is seeing the Peregrine Falcon perched on the far side of North Pond from the south dike at Pea Island. Emily spotted the silhouette of a distant bird on a snag and got her scope on it for all to see. These are both birds I don't get to see very often.
Thanks to Peggy Young and Jim Strickland for contributing photos for this article.
Outer Banks (Pea Island, Bodie Island, Alligator River NWRs),
Scuppernong River Trail at Columbia and Lake Mattamuskeet NWR
American Black Duck
Ring-necked Duck *
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Bonaparte’s Gull *
Great Black-backed Gull
Total species: 86