14 Nov 2021
With the sun shining, not a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the mid 60s it was hard to imagine we’re into November already. But then a quick trip to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island leaves no doubt about the time to year.
The impoundment at the Visitors Center is teeming with migratory waterfowl. Yes, there are a lot of Canada geese, and it’s questionable if they’re still migratory or have simply decided to take up permanent residence.
But there are also American black ducks and widgeons. Some pied-billed grebes swim close to the side of the impoundment wall. Further out, snow geese form a flotilla, and every once in a while one will take flight.
Amidst all of the is a huge white bird. It’s an American white pelican. One of the largest North American birds, its creamy white plumage and size make for an easy identification.
It is not a common sighting at Pea Island, or anywhere along coastal North Carolina. Although similar in appearance to brown pelicans, they’re bigger and have very different feeding patters. Brown pelicans soar and dip into the water to scoop up food while in flight. White pelicans submerge their heads to scoop up vegetation and any fish that may be swimming by.
Something that makes seeing this one pelican, is like the brown pelican, white pelicans are usually seen with other pelicans, and there was no evidence of any other pelicans around.
Hopefully all the people out with binoculars and telescopes—and a few cameras—birding got a good luck at the pelican. It doesn’t happen very often.
The beauty of the Outer Banks is something to behold at any time of the year. Grab a camera or a cellphone—it doesn’t matter, the memories are waiting to be made. And a Brindley Beach Vacations home is the perfect place to begin the adventure.