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

Friday, May 18, 2012
May Days
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, and of May in general, I have some May Days gleanings and treasures to share with you.

Spring is in the air, no matter how you think of that phrase. Pollen is everywhere but apparently mostly in my nose and airways, and in those of everyone I know, to more or less effect. All that pollen makes the birds and bees happy, literally and figuratively. I think of May as a loving month, probably because my parents got officially engaged on May 17. It is one of those days I remember and mark with a smile. If not for that day and all that followed, I’d not be here having these wonderful spring adventures and being able to share them with you!

A couple weeks ago on a gray and drizzly day---that is part of the spring personality I know is necessary but is my least favorite---Pete and I took a quick ride down to Hatteras. While we were there, he drove us back around the campground, now closed, at the lighthouse. I’ve seen deer there before and thought I might again. But the surprise in store was a pair of cattle egrets. They had spring on their minds, too, never straying far from one another.

Then, in my own front yard, I was close-focusing on some blooming roses (Daddy used to say blooming when he was upset about something, I suddenly remember. That blooming whatever… ). Anyway, these bloomings were beautiful, not annoying, despite their obvious pollen. A fuzzy-is-friendly bumblebee thought so too and obliged my photographer’s heart by letting me take its picture!

And Mama Fox has been wonderfully present at Yellowhouse the past couple of weeks. I can’t wait until she comes out to show off her babies.

Then, as if all this wasn’t enough, at the end of last week I had a chance to go twice to Carova—first, with a group of nature photographers (the Outer Banks region chapter of Carolinas Nature Photographers Association, and a nice group we are too, and always looking for others to join us) on Saturday evening and then again on Mother’s Day afternoon with Pete.

Now, to put Mother’s Day in perspective, I have seen horses standing or walking or trotting on the beach at Carova, actually beside the water rather than up on the dunes, exactly once in the 35 years I have lived here. Actually, there is a May Day anniversary coming up for that too; I moved here at Memorial Day, 1976. So almost 36 years now! And in all those years and all my trips to Carova, morning, afternoon, all day, I have seen horses on the shore exactly one time: Mother’s Day, 2009. Until last Sunday! There they were! We saw a small group of mares and one younger horse that eventually, one by one, left the water’s edge and made their way up to the dune where the stallion was waiting (and evidently called them from, although he made no noise we could hear).

We saw two baby horses, one a little filly and one a little foal (I think I have my genders correct—a girl baby horse and a boy baby horse, in any case) and they both were less than two weeks old according to a resident Pete and I talked to on Sunday. And thanks to Lipizann I can now correct myself!! We saw two FOALS, one a FILLY (baby girl horse) and one a COLT (baby boy horse). (Thanks, honey!)

We were riding the back roads around the firehouse when we saw an odd thing, and we stopped our truck and watched this whole scenario unfold. A woman was walking down the lane with two large furry black dogs. She passed us and continued up the road. We’d pulled over and I was photographing with my long lens out the window, focused on a mother and foal that were grazing.

Meanwhile, up the lane was a group of several horses. She kept walking. Right toward them. Don’t know if she lived there, or had never visited there before. That detail doesn’t really matter in light of what happened next. She kept on going and when she and the dogs got really close, I mean really close to the herd, they spooked. One horse in particular kind of shied and half-reared and jumped backwards. Next thing we know, that horse comes trotting up the lane in our direction. And right behind that horse here comes another running at a full gallop. I said to Pete, don’t move the car. Just stay parked here. And we didn’t move while the horses literally thundered right around the truck. They veered off down a side road and there was some scuffling but nothing too major, I am happy to say. I know Karen Watras has witnessed this behavior before but I never had. I was glad the fight did not turn truly vicious. They melted into the brush but I did not hear any more signs of fighting. A couple minutes later the mother and foal we’d been watching came trotting out from where they had gone when the fight broke out and she steered him off in the other direction. We did not see the woman and dogs again. It just reinforced to us that these horses are wild and need to be respected. It was yet another time I was grateful for the long lens that lets me bring distant objects closer. You can see in the photo below the intensity in the eyes of the pursuing horse. I am just glad that no one – woman, dogs, or horses – were hurt in the incident.

We’ve had a string of grayer and wetter days again this week but I have actually seen a little sunshine this morning. I am hoping to get out in it some over the weekend. We’ll see! And if I do, you’ll see you!! Enjoy.

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Here is the Cattle Egret pair at Hatteras. I love their spring wardrobe with its touch of... peach? orange? mango? I am not up enough on my fashion to know the name of the color for this year!

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Look at all that pollen! No wonder our noses react!!

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Here is the Mama Fox. Isn't she beautiful in her own, wild way?

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The essence of Carova. I love seeing the horses no matter where we spot them.

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The wild horses of Carova eat all sorts of vegetation. Here they are munching on beach grass.

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I love atmospherics. So to see a bright sun dog in the sky above the horse was a double treat. Of course, shooting at the light source meant losing a lot of the horse's details, but that was ok.

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Here is a Mama horse showing her foal all the tasty treats that will make up his lifetime diet on the Carova beaches. He's less than two weeks old but already eating as well as nursing.

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Only the second time I have ever seen them by the water's edge!

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See what is behind this little group? Pelicans!! It doesn't get any better than this... not for me anyway!

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Here is the charging horse. I was so grateful to be in the truck. I tell you, if we had been on foot and this event unfolded, I am not sure where we would have gone to get out of the way.

posted by eturek at 9:59 AM

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