Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary
In a world of fast-paced development, preservation of our natural resources has become significantly meaningful. When Audubon North Carolina assumed ownership of 2,600 acres of northern Outer Banks marsh, sound and maritime forest, they preserved both history and future in an area now famous as a developed vacation destination.
The huge preserve—which restricts or denies access to humans in most areas—harbors 170 bird species, as well as seven amphibian species, 17 reptile species, 19 mammal species, and more than 350 species of plants. It is a favorite resting spot of double-breasted cormorants, northern harrier, sharp-shinned hawks, Virginia rails and black-bellied plover. In the later Fall months, dozens of species of geese and ducks descend on Currituck Sound, bringing to mind the days of old when wildfowl were known to eclipse the bright Outer Banks sun.
Sanderling Resort stands adjacent to this wild and natural landscape, with easy opportunities for exploration and of course, bird-watching. The 2.5- mile self-guided nature trail through a portion of the sanctuary bordering Currituck Sound is open to the public year-round. Two observation platforms on the trail offer excellent views of Currituck Sound and its marshes. The southern-most point of the trail starts on the sound side of the street of Sanderling Resort and is located just off the parking lot of the Sanderling Community racquet and swim club.
What you should bring:
Insect repellent, comfortable walking shoes, camera, birding guide book, and binoculars.
The Osprey grows to a length and can posses a wingspan that can reach up to 6 feet wide. Ospreys can be spotted living on top of man-made buildings and in dead trees. The Osprey resembles an Eagle in looks. The main distinguishing feature of the Osprey is their all-white chest. They also have a black patch across the eyes. The Osprey is the only type of predatory bird that will dive into the water to catch their prey. The main source of food is fish. Ospreys will hold the fish by the head in order to keep the fish from slipping out of the talons. When they are flying, the wings are pointed at a backward angle. The most common months to see an Osprey along the Outer Banks is March through September.
The Great Egret grows to be 38 inches tall. The bird's feathers are white. The Great Egret can be spotted living in shallow wetlands and in groups with as many as 100 other Great Egrets. The Great Egret is a protected species because they were nearly extinct by the early 1900's. Poachers killed them to obtain their feathers. For food, the Great Egret eats fish, insects, frogs, and crayfish. The bird uses its bill as a spear to get the fish. On the Outer Banks, the Great Egret can be seen pretty regularly all year round.
The Great Blue Heron is one of the most commonly seen herons around. The bird stands between 42 and 52 inches tall. The Great Blue Heron usually live in treetops located over the water, and they live in groups as large as 100 birds. The bird's feathers are all gray. The eyebrows form plumes that fall off the neck of the bird. One characteristic of the Great Blue Heron is when it is startled, it will bark like a dog. The Great Blue Heron eats small fish, frogs, insects and snakes. It will strike at anything that moves in front of it. It is pretty common to see a Great Blue Heron living on the Outer Banks. The months that they are most likely to be spotted on the Outer Banks are during the months of January through March and July through December.
The gray fox is a mammal of the order Carnivora ranging throughout most of the southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America. Commonly seen on the Outer Banks. some may appear to be tame however one should never approach or feed them.
(Sylvilagus aquaticus) is a large cottontail rabbit found in the swamps and wetlands of the Southern United States.