Wednesday, October 10, 2012

North Carolina's Outer Banks

Once again, the Atlantic Coast and miles of beautiful white sand beaches beckons us to explore.  Willets, Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones scurry along the waves looking for "Sand Fleas"(a local name for this abundant crustacean).
 Ty caught this Sand Flea in the retreating tide.  They move by the hundreds and bury themselves quickly leaving only their feathery antennae out to strain the plankton as it rushes by.  Those fishing were also catching them to use as bait.
 As we sat quietly on the Outer Banks beach, Ghost Crabs were excavated burrows, piling sand, running sideways quickly in and out looking for food.  Any movement sent them retreating down their holes.  They come in all sizes, from 1/2 inch to this 6" dandy that kept his stalked eyes on the camera.
 We camped at the Pea Island National Seashore at Oregon Inlet for several days.  We birded Bodie Island Lighthouse area with vast wetlands that attracted large concentrations of Herons, Egrets, Ibis, Grebes, and waterfowl.  We were not the only ones that enjoyed the view from this elevated perch.

We took some trips inland to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.  We found a huge Black Bear feeding in an old stubble corn field snacking on fruit.  Too far away for a decent photo as it frequently laid down to rest.

Here are some smaller creatures that permitted a closer view.  This very large 3" Golden Orb Weaver at least was a stationary web sentinel.

On one of our bird walks in Surf City, NC we constantly had to step over mating Walking Sticks like this smaller male and female. Look close!

On the first day of Autumn, this is not the snow drifts of the northern Mid-west, but the white sand dunes of the Carolinas.

Thinking of "you all" (almost southerners now) as winter approaches.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida

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