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

Thursday, February 13, 2014
Winter Wonders
I decided on the title of this blog—Winter Wonders—before our latest snowfall this past Tuesday. Most of the folks I know here, hubby Pete included, just wonder when winter will be over! I have to be careful whom I say this to, but having grown up in northern Virginia and having moved here in 1976, I get excited to see snow falling on the dunes and frosting all the live oaks and pine trees.

I was fortunate enough on Tuesday to get out of my driveway before the snow began to accumulate to the point where I was stuck inside. The timing of snowfall was great from that perspective. Roads were snowy but not icy when I was out, but I still got to experience plenty of falling and blowing snow and plenty already piled and drifted by the sea between about 2 and 4:30 pm.

Regular readings of obx connection already are aware that we had a harbor seal hauled out to rest for several days on the Kitty Hawk/KDH beaches, and that it was apparently injured, as it died after four or five days. I’m glad I had the chance to see it and whisper my own thanks. I’d like to think that somehow this creature was aware of all the good feelings that surrounded it from NEST volunteers who checked on it from time to time, and from good neighbors who kept making sure it could rest undisturbed. I hope our collective presence made its passing more peaceful.

On impulse one afternoon I drove over to Alligator River Refuge; I like to drive down Wildlife Drive as well as Sawyer Lake/Buffalo City roads just to see who is out and about. No bear still, but for the second winter in a row, at exactly the same time of day, I saw a bobcat way off in the distance. Sure would like a closer look someday, but am so glad my impulse yielded an encounter, no matter how distant. Even with my long lens it was mostly a speck.

My other encounter of note came as I was driving home from my snowy adventures Tuesday. I live back in Colington and my intention was to go down to the marina and check out the live oaks there in the snow. But as I was driving, I had the sudden impulse to drive through Swan View Shores instead. I’m learning to pay attention to these intuitive nudges, so I turned left instead of heading straight and was rewarded within five minutes by a small herd of deer trotting through the snow. I stopped the car (no other cars were on the road) and rolled down my window to take a couple photographs before they trotted deeper into the trees.

I journaled this morning that one thing I have enjoyed about Pete’s and my times vacationing in Florida is that I can watch birds for more than a couple minutes, as they are comparatively acclimated to people there. Here, my wildlife encounters are just that: encounters, usually so brief that they last less than three minutes. I take a quick breath, rapidly check shutter speed to make sure it is high enough for a moving bird or critter and hope for the chance to honor through a photograph. As fast as the experience begins, it’s over. I have glimpses, like nods in passing. Yet it is these exact blinks of time that I live for as a wildlife photographer on the Outer Banks. Thanks to the miracle of photography, I can remember these moments and share them as well. This past week’s moments are below, so enjoy.

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When I first saw the harbor seal on Feb. 5, it was sleeping.

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The seal opened its eyes briefly and nodded off again. I left after a few minutes so that it could rest undisturbed on my account.

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I'm always alert to early signs of spring: large flocks of American Robins have shown up now, and tree branches are turning rosy.

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Bobcat at Aligator River. A LONG way off (even for a long lens!)

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Snow Banks. (Get the pun??)

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The snow-covered dunes looked like they belonged anywhere but here.

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Sand fence has done plenty of extra duty as snow fence this winter.

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I drove very slowly and managed to get all the way to Bodie Light while the snow was still falling.

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It's a treat to see snow all the way to the water's edge.

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Deer in the snow! Not too rare a sight up north, I admit. These were on Colington Island. See the one sticking out its tongue? Eating snowflakes, maybe?

posted by eturek at 1:54 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 447015 times

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