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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Backyard Wild...
The first summer that Pete and I owned Yellowhouse Gallery, E. M. Corsa, one of the artists we represent, opened a one-woman show at SeaTree Gallery at Whalebone Junction in Nags Head (which has since closed). The theme of her show was “Backyard Wild.” I loved the theme, loved even more all of her artistic renderings and interpretations of the wildlife to be found all around us, if only we humans could notice. I’ve been remembering that show and its theme lately because I’ve been reminded again how very wild our urban/suburban/busy-beachy backyards really are.

I finally timed a visit to the Kitty Hawk Bald Eagle nest to coincide with an eagle being in the tree. I’ve been worried about that pair, to tell you the truth. And I am still not sure they successfully nested this year. In past years, baby eaglets were flying already by mid-June. Mom and Pop eagles were in evidence often in late winter and early spring, no matter what time of day I looked for them. But not this year. I’m hoping our colder, wetter, longer than typical winter has delayed the nesting season for them and that I’ll see eaglets soon. And while we are on the worrying subject, the osprey pair across from the cemetery seems to not be in their nest after all! I saw one there, and then the pair, but lately nobody is in the tree and I don’t see an adult hunkered in the nest either. Again, I hope I am wrong and that I’m just not seeing the mother, and missing the dad. But that male was so attentive last year that his absence in the tree seems wrong to me. Maybe they did not nest this year either.

Seems every time I have gone to the beach lately I have seen the telltale straight-line tracks of fox. Judging by the footprints, a lot of foxes are wandering the dunes after dusk and before dawn! I still have not had even a glimpse of the mother fox who companioned with us at our old business location on the beach road, but I’m watching a couple of promising locations to see if I can spot her or any babies by Memorial Day. If I do, you will soon hear of it too!

I celebrated Earth Day this year by a couple of hours walking outside. I spooked countless frogs in Nags Head Woods as I approached ponds looking for Wood Ducks. I saw no Wood Ducks but had a very pleasant half-hour there. The woods were mostly quiet with occasional bird calls I could not identify.

From there, I drove over to the lake between Manteo and Wanchese, on the east side of NC 345. Here I spotted a Green Heron, Great Egrets, a Snowy Egret, and finally was able to confirm that the large nest on the lake’s southeastern side is home to Osprey (rather than Bald Eagles). I spotted a mixed flock of wading shorebirds, and photographed a mystery bird there (more on that in a minute). The wading shorebirds were mysteries too; I just called all of them “baby” and tried not to stare so as to put them more at ease. The shorebirds took little notice of me, which was a treat. I approached low and slowly and they kept on feeding; their bills looked like little singer sewing machine needles bobbing up and down in the water. Fun to watch.

Finally I drove over to Alligator River Refuge: no bear, but I did see the same mystery bird as I’d seen at the lake. At first I thought it might be an Eastern Phoebe. Dark head with a pointed, almost crested appearance, check; white underparts, check. But something did not seem quite right. In desperation I googled “Pheobe dark head white tail band” – because none of the Phoebe or Flycatcher photos showed the distinctive white band at the tips of the tail feathers. Bingo! Google to the rescue! Eastern Kingbird! They winter in South America and spread northward through most of the US, and even well up into Canada for breeding. Its presence in two places made me believe that spring really is here to stay. I also saw yet another flock of Cedar Waxwings in the refuge…and that made me think twice about my springtime assessment. I usually see Waxwings here only briefly in March. This year they have hung around longer than I am used to. I just downloaded and read Jared Lloyd’s Nothing To Chance, a free ebook I highly recommend on finding wildlife. Since migration is triggered by the need to return to breeding grounds, and the pace of migration depends on food sources, I suspect that our longer and colder winter has meant that northern trees which are typical food sources for the birds are later coming into fruit and berries, thus slowing their northward journey.

For those of you interested in Jared’s ebook (no cost to download), here is the link:
(And while you are at it, browse around his website and sign up for his free newsletter Behind The Lens, too…)


A full month has passed since spring’s official beginning. We have finally had some warmer sunny days and plenty of “April showers.” I wrote this to the rhythm of thunder in the west, I processed the photos to more rainshowers, and now as I prepare to upload it is…you guessed it…on the verge of raining again! We endured a several day northeaster during Easter week, had two doozies of nighttime thunderstorms and more storms on their way by tomorrow. So I will leave you with my usual invitation: enjoy…

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Bald Eagle at the nesting tree in Kitty Hawk. A very welcome sighting.

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First Day of Spring… Our annual spring visitor, the Cedar Waxwing, and budding tree, a perfect pairing.

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A small group of deer (I hesitate to call it a herd but it probably qualifies) has been meandering around our street for a couple of years now. I don't see them very often and when I do it is usually in my neighbor's lot across from our house.

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We often see a much larger herd on the airstrip at the First Flight Airport, particularly in late afternoon coming home from the Gallery. Look how fuzzy! These deer are shedding their heavier winter coats. That's a hopeful sign.

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Fox tracks! I guess this is the next best thing to actually seeing foxes. At least I know one was here, and recently.

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I have several books on tracking. The sand makes for a good surface to practice on although some details are lost.

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Green Heron in flight at Wanchese Lake. Best I can recall, this is only the second or third one I have ever seen in all my years here, so this was a huge treat.

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For any of you who missed it, this is a pretty good summation of what our spring has been like thus far!

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Surfers (and those who spend lots of time watching them) will likely recognize that this interesting wave pattern was made by a surfboard. The surfer just ran his board up the wave face and down the back side, disappearing in the resulting spray.

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Not exactly "wild" -- but tons of fun to photograph. Meet Rudder! He lives to retrieve that tennis ball. His human companion (I hesitate to say "owner") does own OBX Jetpak. Rudder knows the waves as well as any surfer… handy skill for photographers too.

posted by eturek at 12:34 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 546544 times

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