Nesting Osprey at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

Nesting Osprey at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head

The osprey have returned to the Outer Banks. It’s part of an annual cycle of live—spring comes and the ospreys return.

In flight they are a beautiful, graceful bird and catch rate that is the envy of anyone who has ever gone fishing.

They are a migratory bird, arriving on the Outer Banks in late March or April and leaving for South America in early fall.

All along the shallows of the sounds, platforms have been built for the osprey to nest. They tend to come back year after year, the male and female mating for life.

It was a beautiful day today, A perfect day to hike across the northern dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park to Roanoke Sound. Cresting the last dune before the sound, just to the north a small head popped up above the nesting platform.

Closer, there was no doubt it was an osprey. The nest looked scattered so the pair had probably just gotten there a were rebuilding and repairing after the winter storms.

What Jockey’s Ridge State Park Has to Offer

The park is, of course, famous for Jockey’s Ridge, which is the largest active dune system in the United States. The park, though, has much more to offer.

Follow the trail across the dunes to Roanoke Sound and head south—left—and a small but dense maritime forest lines the shore.

The waters of the sound are very shallow here, and heron and egrets wade close to the shore searching for food.

Heading north after checking out the maritime forest, there are now two osprey at the nest. Looking a the activity, they seem like a couple, perhaps squabbling about something.

One of the osprey remain seated, but the other suddenly leaps into the air and flaps his—or maybe her—wings. Then settles back down. That happens three or for more times then he—or she—soars off, gliding at first just over the water, then quickly climbing. Possibly looking for more nesting material or maybe food.

There is beauty in surprising places on the Outer Banks. It will take a bit of time a little patience, but we’ll be able to share it with our Brindley Beach Vacations guest soon enough. Take care of yourselves and be careful.