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18 Dec 2022
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About a quarter mile south of the intersection of US64 and NC345, the road that takes you to Wanchese, there’s a small parking lot on the left. It’s easy to miss, but a quick visit is looking finding it.

It’s the parking lot for the Roanoke Island Marshes Dedicated Nature Preserve, certainly the least known nature preserve on the Outer Banks. 

The Reserve covers some 1874 acres, almost all of it impenetrable marsh, but the parking lot leads to a very easily navigated loop trail around an impoundment. Sometimes migratory waterfowl fill the impoundment; other times, there’s hardly a bird to be seen.

It’s a worthwhile little walk though—only 1.3 miles with two wooden observation platforms on the north end.

If waterfowl are going to be anywhere in the impoundment, wind direction determines where they will be. Generally speaking they try to avoid choppy waters created by the wind and will stay close to the shore, using the land as a windbreak.

There were a couple of bufflehead on the water. Their dark wings and white heads are distinctive and to confirm the identification, every once in a while they would dive under the water.

Trees line the impoundment and in the branches there was the constant twitter of birds. Yellow-rumped warblers are ubiquitous on the Outer Banks at this time of the year, and that’s what most of them were. There was a cardinal and mockingbird in the foliage as well.

On the water though, what may have been the most interesting sighting of they were the tri-colored herons. They actually look a lot like blue herons, but a closer look shows a white belly and yellow legs. There were a surprising number of them roosting along the banks of the impoundment.

It’s moments like that, seeing a bird that is somewhat common but not seen all that often, that are reminders of how wonderful life on the Outer Banks can be.

Stop by for a visit and see for yourself how remarkable the beauty of the Outer Banks can be, and be sure to plan your stay in a Brindley Beach Vacations home.