Enjoying Spring on the Outer Banks

Though the beach will always be the biggest draw, one of the best things about the Outer Banks, outside of summer with no breeze, is the beauty of the plants and animals which call the maritime forests home. As soon as I read this, Spring birds in the OBX Barrier Islands, it made me want to stand up and take a hike. After the long damp winter days, spring is always a huge change along the Outer Banks.

The Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina is the place to be in early spring. The mosquitos have not resumed control of the airspace yet. Birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route either pass directly over the barrier islands or find places to rest at the beaches, the forests of the coasts or the marshes. The resident birds don’t seem to mind. North Carolina has spent years developing a concentrated network of birding trails from the mountains to the coast.

The living room and kitchen of our small third floor condo at Hatteras Village faced the Atlantic Ocean. Every day you could watch the small Sandpipers and larger Sanderlings running back and forth as the waves flowed in and out. “Obsessive wave chasing” states Cornell. Assorted gulls would float, dive or fly above the water. Boat-tailed grackles hopped through the brush on the dunes and washed up debris on the shore. Dolphins and whales that spouted large plumes swam beyond the breakers in the deeper waters.

Buxton and Frisco Woods are considered a natural maritime Atlantic Coast evergreen forest community. They have fresh water ponds, sand dunes, grasses, thickets and coastal vegetation. Several paths traverse the sandy soils that support the loblolly pines and live oaks. American holly, wax myrtle, yaupon, greenbriers, grapes and poison ivy form the underbrush.