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Monday, March 12, 2012

Nags Head Beach & Another Evening at ARNWR

To start our day, we took a stroll along the beach combing...and it was a GORGEOUS, warm morning!


Good Morning, Atlantic Ocean!

Black-backed Gull sp. (Larus)

Black-backed Gull sp. (Larus)

Ring-billed Gull (?)


Today's adventure centered around Nags Head Woods, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. It's a 1,000+ acre chunk of land that has a wide range of habitats that includes forested dunes, ponds, marshes, and other wetlands. Resident critters include a variety of amphibians, resident and migratory birds, wetland mammals, reptiles, and during the summer months- I'm sure insects GALORE! We saw quite a variety today- and got some awesome pictures. AND my #1 bucket list critter was checked off today! As I wrote about last week, I was jonesing to see a nutria (or coypu)...and my wish was granted!



Nutria - Coypu (Myocastor coypus)

Nutria - Coypu (Myocastor coypus)

Nutria - Coypu (Myocastor coypus)

Nutria - Coypu (Myocastor coypus)

Turtle species

Turtle species

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Brown anole (Anolis sagrei)

Brown anole (Anolis sagrei)

Brown anole (Anolis sagrei)

After lunch and a nap, we headed back to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge for another sunset drive...hoping for some of the Big 3 (Black bear, bobcat, red wolf)! While on our drive around the refuge, we came across this pile of scat. It was literally a PILE! To me, at first glance, it looked like horse poop...but something felt very "bear" about us. We weren't sure if horses were allowed in the refuge or not for trail riding, because the sheer mass of this scat seemed like it could belond to a horse.


But the composition of it was just decomposing, compacted leaves. There were some "nuggets" (as described by Mady), and logs. I referred to my Elbroch mammal signs book, and it seemed that maybe this scat could be consistent with bears.

Photo credit: Mady Alfieri
So, as a good environmental/wildlife student...I bagged it and will be taking back to NY for some further discussion with faculty at school. I always have rubber gloves and baggies in the car just for this reason!


We found "our" bear back in its spot, that we saw it in last night. I want to believe this is a male bear for several reasons: sheer SIZE, and lack of cubs. This time of year, sexually mature females should have cubs. Up North, in NY, I would think that MAYBE this bear could be a female without cubs because of the winter weather perhaps. Or not having gained enough weight to support the cubs. But here, and even there this winter, it's been so mild...adverse conditions probably haven't really affected the bears and their young.



Look at the SIZE of this bear!


Fantastic day 3. Tomorrow: Pea Island and Cape Hatteras National Seashore!


Lastly...our visitor the gray fox was confirmed with this picture!


 

2 comments:

  1. Some lovely pictures here.
    Those turtles must be having a tough time wading through that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those are some nice pictures, but I should point out that the lizard that you have labeled as a Brown Anole is actually a Green Anole, probably a female. (The females have more pronounced white stripes.) The Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)is a Carribean species that has been introduced into Florida and other parts of the southernmost United States, but it does not occur in North Carolina.

    ReplyDelete

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