North Carolina county #9 Pea Island
Dare County encompasses the majority of the Outer Banks, one of the best places to bird in North Carolina, especially in the winter. Winter months can bring all kinds of waterfowl and pelagic birds due to how far it juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. My trip here did not disappoint. Since I am still a birder first and I was with a group, I did not have my large DSLR camera with me all the time and I was mostly concerned with finding birds and enjoying both the views and good conversation, as opposed to taking pictures. I did make sure I got some record shots for memory’s sake though.
On my first trip out in Dare County, we visited Pea Island. On Pea Island, there is North Pond and South Pond. South Pond is usually closed to the public, but we had special permission for this visit. Really, the place was a spectacle. There were many thousands of birds everywhere, of many different types. There is a very good chance I missed some in my logging due to the sheer numbers. If I was excited about the Tundra Swan from the day before, here I could view hundreds of them at a time. Snow Goose was a life bird for me, and I was able to log five hundred of them. There was also a massive flock of Redheads.
We struggled to estimate the numbers of this, since the view you see above went on and on into the distance. The group agreed to put down eight thousand as a rough estimate. Occasionally a Bald Eagle or Northern Harrier would spook some group of birds, and the view and sound of them was amazing.
I also saw a very massive Belted Kingfisher – he must have been eating well. My favorite was a group of 26 American Avocets that I was able to spot and watch. I like these birds and they are not very common. After spending a couple of hours here, in which I logged 39 species, we took a short drive to the North Pond, where there is a Wildlife Trail along the shore for a little ways.
North Pond had less birds but there was still a lot. Most of them were the same as South Pond.
However, I did log another life bird as there was a small group of Marbled Godwits. As we were leaving, we were treated to a showing of about 40 White Pelicans flying directly above us.