Not far south of Duck is Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1938. It too is a "nesting, resting" sanctuary spot for migratory birds and other animals, including the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle.
Darn it, why did we forget the binoculars!
Interestingly, Twiddy (the rental company we got found our vacation stay through), has an amazingly extensive Birding Guide to the Outer Banks of coastal North Carolina birds of the barrier islands. Featured on that page along with the slew of native birds to this area are 20 bird facts featured in infographics.The Cornell Lab's online portal "All About Birds." Using this, I think I've determined that my white diving fisher birds are Northern Gannets. They do make a dramatic plunge!!
Of course, I can't mention Cornell's Bird Lab without mentioning Merlin--their birding app. I had to move this one to a more prominent spot on my phone and make sure to add the US: Southeast Bird Pack!From Mercier's book mentioned above: "Today, ornithologists and ecologists value ospreys as an indicator species. These birds help gauge the general well-being of an area's ecosystem and the health of its waterways" [page 249]. Despite the growth of development in both Duck and all of the Outer Banks aver the last several decades, the fact that we have these bird sanctuaries and the variety of biodiversity bodes well for the area. Just as we have seen eagle populations grow and flourish over these decades, ospreys have too.
All of which brings me back to the osprey nest I've been watching here from our back balcony at Duck. As quoted from Judith Mercier's Prologue [pages ix-x]:
"A pinch of earth separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Currituck Sound. Generations ago, a meager band of seafarers, fishermen, and duck hunters settled this area of North Banks land. They and their families built a small community, a neighborhood sheltered by the oaks and pines growing atop the sand hills. Today thousands of summer tourists visit the same place, a bantam village they know as Duck.
Duck constitutes barely 2 percent of the land area of North Carolina's Outer banks. Virtually hidden until the early 1980s, the village and its inhabitants enjoyed several centuries of solitude and anonymity."