The holidays are rapidly approaching and it’s time to head up to my family in Connecticut. This provides the perfect opportunity for a road trip up through the states on the Atlantic coast with stops at a few destinations. The first stop along the way was the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The morning began with a thrilling confrontation between a Peregrine Falcon who was trying to scare a Great Black-backed Gull off an injured female Northern Shoveler. Perhaps the falcon had originally attacked the duck, but the duck died while the two were going at it. In the end, the gull flew away and the falcon rowed the waterlogged body to shore. It was exciting to watch, but too dark and far off in the water to capture any photos.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is quite an incredible place. It provides a great stopping place for many wintering ducks. This American Black Duck was one of several ducks who were out foraging in a small pond right next to the seashore. I was once told that every rare bird is a common bird somewhere. The opposite holds true, and now that I’ve moved down to South Carolina I miss some of the birds that were ubiquitous in Michigan. Many think of Canada Geese as pains, but they just don’t show up where I’m at and I have to admit that I find them to be quite handsome birds. So I was happy to find a few feeding at the same pond as the ducks.
The Outer Banks project out quite a way towards the Gulf Stream. This makes it a favored spot for all kinds of sea birds, and there tons of gulls. Birdwatchers come from long distances to spot some of the rarities that can show up. I am happy to spend some time with the more common gulls, like this young Great Black-backed Gull.
Even far from home, you see some of the same wildlife you see on a daily basis. It’s easy to overlook them since you feel that you can always get a photo of them back home. New settings can create new possibilities though, so even the mundane can be magical. For me, the deeply overcast conditions of the day added some softness to this Ring-billed Gull who was resting near the surf.