Saturday 31 January 2009

Trip report-Pea Island NC

The Outer banks in North Carolina is a 70+ mile long spit of sand that runs down the coastline, You get to it by crossing a couple of impressively long low bridges, One of the islands that make up the outer banks is called Pea Island and it has some largish lakes just yards from the sea,Here the birds over winter,Thousands of Tundra Swans,Snow Geese,Redheads,Merganser,Buffleheads,Egrets and herons to name but a few decide that this is the place for their winter vacation,there is an interpretive centre with knowlegable guides there,You can walk one of the banks which early morning has the sun behind so is good for photography,The birds can see you coming a long way off so slow walking is the way to approach these shy birds,I have found that by getting into position and staying flat to the ground that the birds will eventually start to come closer and closer, I watch for the small bufflehead ducks to start diving and when they are underwater i get closer and closer,I f you can get close by doing this and the birds continues to dive then others will come over and feed as well,The lakes are all in a row and most you are not allowed to be near but the birds use this as a highway and there is a constant procession of birds during the day allowing for some good flight photography, The last time i was there a Bald Eagle flew over and spooked thousands of redhead ducks,The air was full of them and after a couple of dives the Eagle managed to grab one of the females,He flew at distance towards me and landed on an old osprey nest,I used a 600 and 1.7x to get max reach and although the image is ok its nothing more than a great memory,Pea Island is good all year around but the majority of birds come for the winter,If visiting outside of winter months just remember you are at the bottom of the food chain and unless you have midge sprays you will get eaten alive
Its a great place to visit and get some shots in,Just up the road is the museum where the Wright Brothers did the flight flight and there are miles of empty beaches so something for the whole family


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