North Carolina county #66

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

It is time to start birding again!  I haven’t done much this summer but the fall migration activity is starting to pick up as I notice new birds in my yard and hear about migration news from around the region.  My first trip of the season was to the central coast of North Carolina to finish off all the coastal areas of North Carolina.

This time, I took our new camper since there was a relatively central campground for the counties I wanted to hit.

I dropped it off at Flanners Beach Campground and headed out to Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge as my spot for Carteret County.

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed.  Every other National Wildlife Refuge I’ve been to had driving and walking areas to view wildlife and were relatively quiet and peaceful.  This one had none of that.  There is a road that runs through it on the way to Cedar Island and you literally have to pull off on the shoulder while trucks and such drive by.

That said, I did find a spot where there were a large grouping of diverse shorebirds.  In fact, I ended up with a life bird so I shouldn’t complain.  It took me forever to go through the photos and make sure I have everything identified properly – I am still very much a beginner with shorebirds.

Black-necked Stilt

I was very excited to see three Black-necked Stilts there.  These are great looking birds that I have been hoping to see for a while.  I had thought I had another life bird (Piping Plover) but after further study and input I realized it was just a young Semipalmated Plover.

Semipalmated Plover

I also got a lot of other pretty good photos you can see in the ebird checklist.  There were all three of the common “peep” species (Least, Semiplamated, Western Sandpipers), both kinds of Yellowlegs (Lesser, Greater), and a rather photogenic Willet.

The other interesting thing about the trip was there was a Marine Helicopter that kept flying right over me.  It almost seemed like he saw my camera and was coming directly towards me for photos.  It came by about five times.  Unfortunately it did scare the birds sometimes but they mostly seemed used to it.

So that was Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge.  There is clearly a lot of birds there.  I just wish there was a hard shoulder in maybe one little spot for a couple of cars, and a wooden viewing platform would be great.

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

ebird checklist

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