Thursday, December 15, 2011

Outer Banks Crawl Day 1 - Tuesday

Day 1 of vacation did not go as hoped. I guess that saying of "Best laid plans..." was in full effect.  The clouds hung around longer than expected so the morning was non-eventful.  My first stop was at the Alligator River NWR.  Where are all the ducks, swans and snow geese?  Oh well.

The saving grace was watching a Northern Harrier working the field.  What a shame the lighting was not better.  I can say though they are truely magnificent fliers.  This one particular bird was very adept at riding the wind currents.  It had that hang time maneuver down pat.  There were more N. Harriers around in the area than I think I have ever seen there.

On to Pea Island NWR.  Major disappointment this year.  When I arrived,  I was so surprised that the area covered with water last year was now dry.  I went into the visitor center to talk with them to see what was going on.  The volunteer there was new at that location and all she could say was water had been pumped out.  I am very surprised as this time of year it is a major roosting area for the migrating Tundra Swan and Snow Geese.  It is considered an environmentally sensitive area so I was totally shocked.  Had I known, I would not have wasted my time or gas.  I know that back in the summer when Hurrican Irene hit, the ocean washed out Hwy 12 and cut through to the sound side.  Possibly water was being pumped out so excess sand could be remove?   I just don't know.

On my way back to Nags Head, I decided to pull through the Bodie Island Lighthouse.  Last year it was still undergoing renovation and had scaffolding still around the lighthouse.  It looks very nice now.  I had watched a program on PBS showing all the required repairs on the lighthouse and it was a major undertaking.   One thing for sure, we love our  lighthouses here in NC!

Feeling disheartened by the lack of waterfowl, the high winds and cool temps, I attempted to make the best of the remaining part of the day.  Since I had not visited the somewhat new Wright Brothers Memorial that opened a couple of years ago, now seemed like a good time.   

Tired and a bit frustrated, I went on to the motel.  Late in the afternoon, several guys came by kite surfing.  Looked like fun and they were moving pretty quickly but I would say definitely a summer sport.  They all had on wet suits but I feel sure they were still cold.  Time for a good nights rest and hopes for a better 2nd day.  A revision of plans for day two shows promise.

I have so many photo's to go through tonight / tomorrow for day two that proved to be outstanding.  Tonight however I am extremely tired and the dog is demanding some "love me" time.

Day two, I get down to some serious birding time.  WIll post more tomorrow.

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