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6 May 2024
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Beach Secrets

...and bird lovers indeed!

So, we can't decide if it's an age thing or just that there are so many incredible ways to appreciate nature here on the Outer Banks that naturally, birdwatching becomes, well, a thing!  If you have ever sat on the beach and watched a flock of pelicans glide by without cracking a smile, well then this blog post isn't for you! Because Pelicans are cool!  Effortlessly skimming in single file just above the surface of the ocean, disappearing and reappearing with each wave.  Sometimes, you'll see a rogue pelican flying alone and think to yourself, "I wonder where he's going, all by himself.  Must be the lone ranger of the flock.  Or maybe he knows something the rest don't!"  

Before you have a chance to give any further thought to the solo bird, you will likely be distracted by a seagull or two or many more if you dropped a french fry.  After you have won the standoff between you and the gull while polishing off the last tasty fry, naturally, you will head to rinse the residue from your fingertips off in the surf.  Here, it is almost certain you will be greeted by a pack of plovers or perhaps some sanderlings or sandpipers as they scurry in unison to hunt for prey washed up on shore quickly before they get their feathers soaked with seawater.  

So, birders, if you are still reading, we have something in common, and as luck would have it, the outer banks have a wide variety of birds to admire all year round.  We also have several vacation homes that can put you up close and personal with your feathered friends.  Let us show you a few here, starting with one of our most unique choices, a restored hunting lodge nestled on its own private peninsula located just north of our beach towns.  A short drive will have you admiring shore birds and their fellow marsh-dwelling relatives in the same afternoon, or morning, or evening, depending on your mood.  

Sawyers Lodge on the Mainland

OBX birding ladies

Any chance our staff birders get a chance to spend some time at "the lodge" it doesn't take much convincing.  This home has several binoculars on the premises, which gives Larissa the important job of keeping an eye out. At the same time, we set up our tripods alongside the tranquil marsh in hopes of capturing, for Brandi, a red-wing blackbird taking flight as the red and yellow stripes on its wings merge together, creating orange flashes in the sky.  Or for Brenda, the mighty eagle, in its nest protecting its young, stoically posing with the expression of a mighty leader, one who actually has feathers, yet they will never be ruffled.

While we patiently wait, a blue heron glides by, outstretched and elegant as always.  Off in the distance, Larissa spots a white egret striking a pose, perhaps mocking her own. And when you think the scene couldn't get any better, the osprey makes its grand entrance, soaring overhead with outstretched wings, his talons full of sticks and twigs to add to his young family's already impressive nest.  Soon, he will soar to his proven perch up high to scout out their next meal before diving and plunging into the water with pinpoint precision.  

Venture southward, back on the island, between the ocean to your east and marshes of the Currituck, Pamlico, and Roanoke sounds, to find an abundance of waterfowl, including the elusive Kingfisher perched high above. The cranial feathers on his head only slightly more disheveled than those of his cousin, the tern.  

Ah, yes, it's true; while there is a large variety of waterfowl, given our proximity to numerous bodies of water teeming with the fish and amphibians on which they feed, you can, of course, expect to also see ducks, swans, and geese of all types. During the winter months, snow geese visit our shores while migrating to warmer waters. In 2023, we even had sightings of flamingo, a first!  The possible result of an offshore storm blew them off course.  That's the rumor.  But that's pretty far off course, don't you think?  They were only here for a few days, and we expect they have ventured on to their tropical destination.  But we have plenty of other winged wonders to admire, so let's do that! 

Photo Gallery of Birds Mentioned Here!

Brandi McMahan Shorebird Photos
A reminder from Brandi not to feed the seagulls, unless you want new companions on the beach! Also pictured are Sanderlings, no wait, Sandpipers, no maybe Plovers, wait what's the difference? A great Blue Heron, a Tern, and a White Egret!
Brenda’s Bald Eagles
Brenda’s Bird's of Prey: Bald Eagles, Owl, Osprey, and Hawk. She's got a lot of patience, a really great camera, and some skills!
The elusive Red Wing Black bird and more elusive King Fisher
The elusive Red Wing Black bird and more elusive King Fisher. These are stock photos to be replaced if Brandi or Brenda can ever catch one on camera! I feel a challenge coming on!
Purple Martin
Purple Martins, migratory birds that typically grace the Outer Banks with their presence in spring, around March or April, present a delightful challenge for bird enthusiasts. Capturing a clear photo of one in flight is just as daunting as spotting one sitting still, as portrayed in this captivating stock photo here.
The Purple Martin Houses at Beach Royalty - K1010
Alas! Brandi stopped by right at dusk and the Purple Martin's were all a flutter. Whether it was the imminent storm or simply the enchantment of twilight, it seemed male bravado was in full display!

More Birds, That's Why We're Here, Right? 

Coffee in hand, clad in your comfiest pajamas, if your love for birds knows no bounds, we have the perfect place to call home for a few days while visiting the Outer Banks. Here are some homes that promise to bring you up close and personal with a variety of bird species. Whether you prefer observing from the cozy confines of your vacation retreat, stepping into outdoor living spaces just beyond your door, or embarking on adventures after your caffeine fix wears off, like kayaking, beach strolls, or hikes through maritime forest—there's something here to satisfy every birdwatcher's heart. 

Make sure you click on each of the "Learn More" links under each property below to view more photos of each home's unique spaces, each one inviting you to relax and enjoy time with nature and its inhabitants ready to join you.

Speaking of Purple Martin, for an extraordinary experience, hop aboard the Crystal Dawn fishing charter for a sunset cruise where you can witness over 100,000 Purple Martins returning to their roost under the William B. Umstead bridge on Roanoke Island during July and August.

Exploring the Outer Banks for birdwatching is a treat, with plenty of options to choose from. Whether you're out on the water, trekking through wooded areas, or relaxing in a cozy vacation rental, there's something to fit every budget. So, take your pick of these fantastic spots, and get ready for a memorable birdwatching experience in this breathtaking coastal destination!

Before we let you go, keep reading for more homes that fit the bill.  See what we did there? 

Not only do we have a plethora of homes with birds as inspiration for their cottage name, such as Swan ShackSparrow's RestNauti Gulls, 3 Little GullsTerning PointCrow's Nest, An Eagle's Flight, and Eagle Quay, but we have communities that are full of options for immersing our beloved visitors in the natural surroundings that extend beyond the beach and that make the Outer Banks such a unique and wonderful place to visit!  Here are more areas with featured homes that check the box on a vacation "must have" that includes some time with the birds! To see more home's in the same area, you can click the location links located under the property name to navigate to the entire inventory of homes that reside there!  Happy navigating.

(I almost said "happy hunting", but then we'd have to get into the whole duck hunting thing, and well, that's just not what this post is about!)

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