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Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Ragged Kind of Beauty
There’s a ragged kind of beauty in the northeast wind
There’s a wildness in the geese passing over
Waves break on the shoreline of where I’ve been
The gray and the blue of October…

I wrote those song lyrics nearly 30 years ago and they are as true a picture of Outer Banks October as ever (not to mention our lives’ autumn seasons).

Late in September I discovered Duck Boardwalk. I knew it was there, had scoped it out before but never had a chance to spend concentrated time there until this fall. Local birders alerted me to the presence of a variety of migrating warblers, many of which I had never seen before. The boardwalk stretches along the Sound .62 miles, ending at the Waterfront Shops. I had better photographic opportunities in the afternoon since I was not aiming into the sun. The boardwalk makes a nice vantage point for sunset, too.

I also revisited Jockey’s Ridge, one of my favorite Outer Banks places, particularly after big winds when the sand is sculpted into new, not yet trodden ripples. It’s a great out-of-season location whether you want a sense of solitude, serenity, or the intensity of high-drama skyscapes. I found all three there during several climbs this autumn.

Another favorite off-season haunt is Pea Island, particularly when winter visitors begin to arrive. I’ve walked by north pond three times this week. No Snow Geese yet but Tundra Swan are here. The couple-dozen White Pelicans that have overwintered here for the past few years apparently each told their closest friends and relatives how great our area is—more than 150 have been reported here thus far in early November! I’ve lived here since 1976 and never heard of that many in our area at once. So far I’ve seen only a few at close enough range to photograph, but I plan to keep visiting until I can see the entire group at once. Other than Cormorants, the largest number of birds I saw were American Coots. Mistaken for ducks, these little black birds with the red eye and white bill are actually something else entirely. They have short wings and big chicken-like (not webbed) feet. They often mix with ducks, and dive to nibble plants. They don’t quack. Cornell’s online birding website characterizes their calls as grunts, croaks or squawks. This morning a lone White-winged Scoter was hanging out with them, an unusual sighting for the Pea Island ponds.

After our stormy weekend last week, the next day’s sunset more than compensated with an unusual color cast to the sky and sea. A purple sky made the ocean look almost teal, with the wave spray tinged with pink right before the sun sank below the dune line and the glow began to fade. Amazingly beautiful.

For those who may want to keep up with a shorter, more frequently posted blog in between these longer natural history essays, you may enjoy a new blog I’ve created on blogspot as well as this one: www.eveturekeverythingclicks.blogspot.com And now, for the images!

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Here's the Northern Parula, my first. I could easily have filled an entire blog with "life list" sightings in Duck this fall.

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See all those little black birds that look like ducks (but aren't)? They are Coots. See the one that doesn't look like all the others? That's the White-winged Scoter.

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Most of the Tundra Swan at Pea Island were further away than I wished. This one was closer, seen from the gazebo behind the Bodie Lighthouse.

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Our October skies fluctuated between intensity of storms...

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...to over-the-top loveliness before or after storm's passage.

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Here's the sky on November 1, as last weekend's storm began to build.

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And here is the sky after the storm passed. Incredible range of colors at sunset.

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Here is one more intense sky, this one over Jockey's Ridge.

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Here's another image from Jockey's Ridge--hundreds, maybe thousands of Tree Swallows in a huge synchronized swarm. I dreamed of a large flock of birds the night before but hadn't seen anything like this since childhood.

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I created this image to illustrate a lesson from Kim Manley Ort's online photography class on Simplicity. I loved the shimmer of sunset color in the wave wash. If you have time, google her work and classes. Highly recommended.

posted by eturek at 10:09 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 433531 times

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