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

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Under the Weather
Since my last blog, I made a whirlwind trip in early February to New York to attend a trade show there for the galleries, and came home a little sniffly, sniffles that quickly escalated and turned out to be a bonafide case of the flu! (This, despite a flu shot in December.) Doc says I would have been worse off without the vaccine, but I admit I am bouncing back much slower than I would have liked. This means I have been mostly cooped up indoors for two weeks...which never goes over well!

Now, I like weather as much as anybody else, but. But. But the relentless, seemingly never-ending days of rain and drizzle and dull gray skies certainly did not help speed my flu recovery; just looking outside was enough to prompt me to lay down and take another nap! After I had been sick about a week, I went back to the doctor who gave me a second antibiotic that eventually did its work and knocked out the infection part. While I waited for my pharmacy to fill it, I drove back into Nags Head Woods and made a rain image out the car window. It is my take on trying to cheer myself up and find some beauty in all the weary dreariness.

Before I left for New York, I had a chance to dash over to Lake Mattamuskeet on the mainland, looking for birds that are mostly NOT at Lake Mattamuskeet this year, but at nearby Phelps and Pungo Lakes and in the Pocosin refuge. I went seeking waterfowl, but the lake's changing turbidity and depth have altered the birds' overwintering patterns there. There were some ducks and a very few swan (fewer than we have in our little cove in Duck) in the flooded fields around the Wildlife Drive loop, but I saw no birds on the lake proper. I also spent a little time with a flock of Great Egrets right at the loop's end. What I DID see, though, around the other side of the lake, was a totally unexpected treat: the largest flock of red-winged blackbirds I think I have ever witnessed. It took minutes, not seconds, for the whole flock to pass from one side of the road to the other, minutes in which I was able to pull over, park, and adjust my lens in order to photograph them. I had already seen a few red-wingeds when I checked on a Bald Eagle nest that still did not seem to have nesting activity earlier in January, but to see this huge a flock was amazing. I found some new scenic spots at the lake's edge, spots I will share with participants in my upcoming mainland photo workshop being offered by Pocosin Arts in Columbia. All in all the day trip was a great success, despite mostly overcast skies and a lot of wind.

Being up at the galleries to do inventory several different days in January meant I was there at the right time to catch some pretty winter sunsets, and you will see that below too. For one of these I am in the more traditional sunset spot, looking west, and for the other, I opted to go to the ocean instead because the light and clouds in that direction were so beautiful. In the middle of January, artist friend EM Corsa invited me over to see a whole flock of male bluebirds! Since I go years without seeing even one, that was a chance I couldn't pass up. The Groundhog had not even seen his shadow yet, but I was already seeing signs of an early spring.

Now that I am about 90% better, and out and about, I have two fun images of the Duck waterfront to share. Well, I thought this was fun. On Monday this week, the forecast was for high winds and while I did not feel them at full strength back in Colington, the evidence of their presence manifested in white caps and waves all across the Sound, waves that the Swan and Buffleheads had to navigate. The flock of Buffleheads laboriously paddled all the way over to the dock near the Blue Point restaurant, a favorite spot for them usually, only to discover that the wave action was greater there, so they all turned around and had to swim against the waves to get out to more open water. I felt as if I were watching surfers paddling vigorously against a flood tide, ducking under a swell just to get to the best wave sets. These are diving ducks, so they can duck under, but several times I watched as a cresting wave broke right as the little ducks were attempting to swim over the swell. The swan, being so much larger, had a much easier time of bobbing up and down as the waves rolled in.

I returned two days later to find the sound almost a slick calm in the early morning, and the cove full of Swan and Canada Geese. The Buffleheads were further out except for a handful of stragglers in the cove, and I spotted a small raft of Canvasback ducks, two males and about half a dozen females. I wasn’t out long before raindrops chased me in. I decided I did not need to get drenched so soon after being sick. Looking ahead at the forecast, I am trying not to be too depressed as we have more days in a row of rain coming. Instead, I am trying to peer out at any shimmer of a bright side: I feel better, we open for the season in about two weeks, and I have had several chances lately for a front row seat at Duck’s very own Swan Lake. Lots to be thankful for, considering.

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Eve Does The Big City! Lights! Camera! Action! What I did not realize is that most of the signs are neon billboards that constantly change, giving the streets a new look every few seconds.

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Here is my mid-flu, out the car window, falling rain image from Nags Head Woods, made while waiting for my prescription to be filled. I take my camera everywhere.

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More blackbirds than I could count or fit in one frame. Thousands, tens of thousands. A magnificent sight.

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We have had only a few sunsets worth noting in the past two months.

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Another winter sunset, this time looking east.

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As I began to feel a wee bit better, I dashed out right before dusk because I thought the light was interesting. A frontal boundary over the ocean gave a clear line that reflected beautifully in the sea below.

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Here are the little Buffleheads braving the waves near the Blue Point pier.

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The swan had an easier go of it.

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I think of Bluebirds as eating mostly mealworms, but these were feasting on berries.

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In just two days, the winds abated and the water calmed. All the birds seemed to be enjoying the respite.

posted by eturek at 8:18 PM

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Sunday, February 24, 2019
Tenth Anniversary, Part 2 - Wildlife
Those of you who have followed my blog any length of time know how much I love birds and critters. The chance to be allowed into their worlds, even for brief moments, and make photographs that honor their lives, is one of my greatest joys. This challenge, to choose only ten images, was even harder for me than picking ten scenics, because every one of my wildlife or bird images brings me right back to that encounter, that moment.

But I had to pick ten. So here they are. On another day, I might have chosen slightly differently. One thing I did want to do was make sure I chose a balance between birds and animals. Even so, some key players are missing. My favorite images of dolphin I have ever made on the Outer Banks date all the way back to 2007, two years before the blog! And there are no seals in the mix, though I love photographing a healthy seal in its characteristic banana pose, resting in the sun on its migrating way north or south.

Again, thanks to all of you for supporting me in doing what I love to do.

And now...onto the images!

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My favorite flying image of pelicans, and my favorite pelican photo from the blog era. There is a longer back story that makes this a fave; I said I love you, silently in my mind, and they turned and began flying straight in my direction.

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Here, two of our three red-billed shorebirds appear in one frame! I expected the flying Black Skimmer to land on the other side of the pond, but when it landed right beside the Oyster Catcher, that was a huge bonus. That pond is gone now.

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Why this Eagle photo, with its wings a little blurred and the pine in the way? Because this was the moment I knew, deep inside, Pete would recover from his stomach cancer in 2011 and the Eagle helped reassure me. So many favorites are emotional.

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My first chance to photograph wild red foxes, May 2012. This is a red fox den no longer there in Carova. Bonus was that Pete and I saw it together, so this is a shared memory as well as a too-cute photo of two of the babies.

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The old Yellowhouse location had a mama gray fox we saw quite a bit. In 2013, she denned under the frame shop, presenting us with 4 babies. This is from the June day the baby foxes discovered the wild blanket flowers.

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My first turtle release started with this Green sea turtle crawling straight for me when the volunteer put her down near the water. (She had been cold stunned the prior winter.) She eventually made it into the water, but this image is a fave.

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This butterfly visited this baby hummingbird in the nest on the morning of August 22, 2015. I can remember that because my grandson Cash was being born right then. And a blue butterfly was a symbol between my mom and me. Pretty great.

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May 2016 was an epic month for horse photography for me. I had a hard time picking just one image. But this one, of "Gus" the stallion (brought to Carova from Shackleford) running in the wave wash is an all-time favorite.

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Every spring I look for the Osprey to return. Since they mate for life, as pairs get older, I always hope and pray both return. The male is bringing his mate new "furniture" to rebuild the nest after winter storms. March 2017 in Duck.

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Another memory with Pete! In spring the resident Sanderlings are joined by birds migrating back north, so we see big flocks. This one is from April 2018 at Ocracoke, a trip his health finally allowed us to take for a couple days that spring.

posted by eturek at 3:31 PM

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Saturday, February 23, 2019
Tenth Anniversary - A Scenic Look Back
I have to start this month's blog by saying, once again, how grateful I am to Will for giving me the opportunity to share my visual stories of (mostly) this wonderful Outer Banks here with all of you, and also give a shout-out to Uncle Jack Sandberg who started blogging in this space and gladly passed me the torch in February 2009. We have Uncle Jack to thank for our owning Yellowhouse Gallery, too, but that is another story!

In honor of my 10th anniversary, I thought it would be fun to look back at ten years of images I have made on the Outer Banks. I had the chance to make many of these because I went out looking to be inspired, knowing I had blogs to prepare and an audience away from here that was hungry for new images of this place we all love so much. If not for all of you and your support over the past decade, I can say that I would have made many fewer photographs. With my whole heart, I am so grateful.

As I went through hundreds of photos, I quickly realized I wanted to do two editions, one just for scenics and one for wildlife.

I will share the scenics below, and look for the wildlife entry later tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have had a few chances to be outside since my January blog, despite weeks of rain and a two-week nasty bout of flu, which I am just now beginning to get over. So you have a new blog coming soon, too.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this look back at the past ten years.

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This sunrise at Nags Head Pier in August 2009 preceded Hurricane Bill's arrival. Pre and post storms can make for the most dramatic skies.

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Harvest Moon rising over Hatteras Island, October 2010, from the tip of Ocracoke. That perspective doesn't exist today with erosion. But the way the islands shift, it could again someday!

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Mid-summer on a beautiful low humidity day in 2011. A beautiful, peaceful scene in a year marked by peat fires on the mainland and destructive hurricanes.

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One of my favorite times of year is when sea oats first emerge, in late June or early July. This is from Pea Island, July 2012.

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Sometimes at sunset, I go to the ocean instead of the Sound. The clouds this evening in 2013 showed me I made the right choice. I call this Crayola Sunset for all the colors present!

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Northern readers have good reasons to hate snow. For us who are photographers here, a real snowfall is rare--and magical. This is Nags Head, 2014.

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Here is a sunset in the more traditional direction! Looking west from the boardwalk in Duck, 2015.

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One of my favorites from 2016 was made just down from the boardwalk from my favorite sunset of 2015. But for this one I was lying on my belly and photographing from UNDER the boardwalk!

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An unexpected errand after supper in July, 2017 put me on the beach road in time to notice a bright glow over the dune. I stopped to see and received the brightest "anti-crepuscular rays" I have ever seen (rays on the horizon opposite the sun).

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This approaching storm cloud in June 2018 shortly before sunset commanded my full attention and created a downpour and high winds in the few minutes during which it passed overhead.

posted by eturek at 7:56 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 560902 times

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