White-winged Tern in flight at Buxton. Photo, CHNS

White-winged Tern in flight at Buxton. Photo, CHNS

The Outer Banks is often thought of as a birder’s paradise and we just had some more proof of how remarkable this sandbar by the sea can be.

The White-winged Tern is usually found in Eurasia, but every once in a while, because of winds, loss of bearings or for some reason we don’t know, one will show up in North America.

Just the other day one was sighted at Cape Hatteras National Seashore down by Buxton.

White-winged terns are similar in appearance to black terns, which are very common in this area. When the Eurasian tern is seen in North America, the bird is typically a part of colony of black terns.

It is rare, though, for a white-winged tern to be seen in this area.The last time one was see on the Outer Banks, according to the Park Service was in 1994.

The white-tailed tern is not the only Eurasian bird to stop by the Outer Banks occasionally. Nesting pairs of Eurasian Widgeon have also been seen at times.

Discover the Wonder of the Outer Banks

Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is the northern part of Hatteras Island, is home to an extraordinary range of migratory waterfowl, wading birds, seabird, songbirds and raptors. There is an easily navigated loop trail at Pea Island taking visitors around an old impoundment that is a wonderful way to view the many birds that call the Outer Banks home.

Bodie Island Lighthouse also provides a great opportunity to get a sense of the beauty and diversity of the natural side of the Outer Banks. There’s a boardwalk that crosses over the marsh on the south side and a trail at the north end of parking area.

If you’re planning on going this summer, be sure to put some insect repellant on.

There is so much to explore on the Outer Banks. Take a week or two with Brindley Beach Vacations and discover nature at it most remarkable.