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    Springtime Comes to the Outer Banks

    April 6, 2020

    It’s easy to get so focussed on our daily troubles that we sometimes forget to look around us and see the wonder and beauty of nature. We’re probably a little bit biased on the subject because we think the Outer Banks puts on the best show there is, but no matter where you are, take a moment to go outdoors and look around as the spring renews the world around us.

    That’s something that Mother Nature does really well that whatever is happening now will change as surely as the seasons.

    The Ospreys of the Outer Banks

    Osprey are a regular part of Outer Banks life, returning every spring from their annual migration to Central and South America. Admittedly, they are not the swallows of Capistrano, but there is no bird as graceful and beautiful in flight as an osprey.

    Osprey Flying over the Outer Banks

    Over the years a number of platforms have been constructed for them in the shallow waters of our sounds. When they leave, the nests seem forlorn and lonely, and just a bit of the beauty of nature seems to travel south with them.

    But they come back every year, their high-pitched cries filling the air as the male and female call to one another. What is perhaps as remarkable as anything else, the same pair return year after year to the same nest.

    Osprey nest over the Albemarle Sound

    There are a couple of platforms out in Kitty Hawk Bay along Moor Shore Road. It looks as though one of the platforms will not be in use this year, although there is hope for a late arrival. But the other one has a fresh nest in it, and a female who seems to be making herself comfortable.

    There’s an osprey who keeps making wide circles around the nest, probably her mate and the female keeps up a constant chatter with the circling osprey.

    It’s just wonderful.

    A Small Thing

    We all have a favorite place to go to relax and just take a break from the noise around us. For a lot of the folks that live in Kitty Hawk, Sandy Run Park is that perfect refuge.

    The park is only 16 acres and consists of a trail that circles a pond. There’s catch and release fishing, kayak put-ins, and a few picnic tables.

    One of the most wonderful features of Sandy Run is that it truly reflects the seasons of the year, and spring is no exception.

    The colors of the trees as the leaves leaf out and bloom are intense; flowering plants seem to explode with color.

    But the coolest thing about Sandy Run on a warm spring day is a turtle—the yellow-bellied sliders.

    Outer Banks Turtle

    Basically what they like to do is swim slowly just beneath the surface of the water and every once in awhile climb out on a log and sun themselves for a bit.

    Turtles are not typically what people think of as a harbinger of spring, but the yellow-bellied sliders are so ubiquitous, so numerous in the ponds that they are truly noticed by their absence in the winter.

    As turtles go, they’re not the most exciting, but after they have been away for two or three months, seeing them gathered in the water on a warm spring day is like greeting an old friend who has been coming back from a journey.

    Dogwood in Bloom

    There is a reason why there are three streets in Southern Shores named Dogwood. More than one reason actually—at one time the soundside of the town was a dense maritime forest filled with dogwood.

    One of the ways that money was found to develop Southern Shores was through harvesting the trees.

    Dogwood Bloom on the Outer Banks

    Although not nearly as thick as it was 65 years ago, dogwood still lines the road, and March and April are when they bloom.

    Typically the dogwood blooms last three to four weeks. The rest of the year, it looks a lot like other trees in the forest, although it will often have a more gnarled, weathered look to it.

    But when spring comes and it’s in bloom, oh what a show it puts on.

    Bonus—Not nature but good for the health

    New Sidewalk on the Outer Banks

    Just about the time, we hope, we’ll be welcoming visitors back to the Outer Banks the multiuser trail along South Dogwood Trail in Southern Shores should be ready. South Dogwood is a beautiful road for a bike ride, but it can be a bit nerve-wracking. It’s not a very wide road.