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White Ibises are "gimmes" for a birder at Pea Island Wildlife Refuge--you're just about guaranteed to see them. I have yet to find their gorgeous iridescent relative the Glossy Ibis, though it occurs in the Outer Banks also. Maybe someday!

1680x1050 wallpaper

I've seen these pretty red and yellow flowers at Outer Banks since I was a little girl. Until recently, I just assumed they were native. They're called "Indian blankets" or "firewheels", formally "gaillardia aristata", and actually they're only native in western North America. (I photographed some in the Okanagan, different color scheme but same species, I think.) They were introduced by Joseph Nash Bell, as recounted here, in the early 1900's. They thrive in sandy soil and are even salt-tolerant, so they've taken to their new home as if they'd been there all along! The locals call them "joe bell flowers."

Marbled Godwits


Fish Crow, wallpaper available

Fish Crow is to American Crow what Boat-Tailed Grackle is to Common Grackle: a closely-related coastal specialist. They're almost impossible to tell apart by sight, but the Fish Crow's weak, nasal "wah wah" is very different from the caw of a common crow. To me it sounds like a duck; others have said it's like an American that sucked on a helium balloon.

There are a few subtle clues in the photo above: the bluish sheen, raven-like neck ruff and slightly hooked bill are all more characteristic of Fish Crows than common crows.

From left to right: Laughing Gull, Great Egret, Black Skimmer

Brown Pelican

As a little girl, I never remember seeing pelicans at the beach. Over the years they slowly became more and more numerous. I now know that this was because of their recovery from DDT poisoning (after DDT was banned in the 70's.) DDT causes bird egg shells to become brittle. Because Brown Pelicans actually stand on their eggs to incubate them, this had a big impact on their population. It's said that they nearly went extinct. Nowadays they're a common sight!

Finally, a little something I call "Heron City":

Absolutely the most herons I'd ever seen in one place. There were White Ibises (towards the front), Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and quite possibly other species that I wasn't able to distinguish (a good scope would have been handy.) There must have been quite the school of fish out there. Click on the image to view a fullsize version.

Surf birds at Cape HatterasOne good tern deserves another


July 3rd, 2012 at 12:49 am
I really like your pictures.

July 3rd, 2012 at 11:48 am
Oh, it's lovely. Your pictures always have a wonderful colour composition. They're very inspiring. Thank you.

July 8th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
This is yet another reason I need to visit North Carolina! You got some terrific photos on your trip!