Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

Click on arrows to show pull-down menus:


Archived-by-Date Pages

Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC

This park is located on Pleasure Island, just south of Snow's Cut, which separates Wilmington and its near southern suburbs from Carolina Beach.  How to get there?  See the live map. To visit the state park's website, go to Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC

Venus Fly Trap, Carolina Beach State Park, 10/12/06 Venus Fly Trap, Carolina Beach State Park, 12/20/06 Beach at Snow's Cut, 1/7/08. Seaweed-covered stump at Snow's Cut beach Seaweed on sand, Snow's Cut beach


Swamp/marsh near the Cape Fear banks, 6/25/08 Swamp/marsh near Cape Fear banks, 12/23/09 Long-leaf Pines, Reindeer Moss, small Live Oaks and fallen branches, deep in the park, 1/18/11

Animals and Plants


Female Eastern Bluebird Male Eastern Bluebird Another female Eastern Bluebird Yellow-rumped Warbler Another Yellow-rumped Warbler

Turkey Oak Long Leaf Pine      


Mystery asters Eastern Buckmoth Same Eastern Buckmoth Another Eastern Buckmoth Fly


Pond Yellow-rumped Warbler    


Antlion (Vella fallax) Aster?  Notably missing from the guidebooks. Male Brackish-water Fiddler Crab Comet Darner Eastern Pine Barrens Tiger Beetle


Lichens Golden Silk Spider pair Indigo Bunting Meadow Beauty (Rhexia genus) Pitcher plants


Pitcher plants More pitcher plants Male Eastern Pondhawk, transitioning to adulthood Southern Bee Killer Southern Magnolia


Wharf crab Virginia Spiderwort Yellow-eyed Grass (Xyris fimbriata) Another Yellow-eyed Grass  


Female Pileated Woodpecker, one of four of this species seen One of the several ponds Sand wasp? Lone Virginia Spiderwort flower Wharf Crab


Brown-headed Nuthatch Common Buckeye caterpillar, with exuvia still attached Hovering Common Green Darner Horse fly  


Bee fly (Poecilognathus punctipennis) on a Purple False Foxglove flower (Agalinis purpurea).  Wildflowers were sparse in the sandy sections of the park, and this species was most conspicuous. Red-bellied Woodpecker Same Red-bellied Woodpecker Female spider wasp (Psorthaspis sanguinea).  Genus ID thanks to Ken Wolgemuth and species ID (as well as sex) to Bob Biagi Square-headed Wasp (Tachytes genus).  ID thanks to John S. Ascher.


Square-headed wasp (Tachytes genus). Bee fly (Poecilognathus punctipennis) on a Purple False Foxglove flower.  Dogday cicada Firewheel Grasshopper


Lily pond Mourning Cloak Pine Warbler    


Henry's Elfin Cape Fear River      


Brown-headed Nuthatch Same Brown-headed Nuthatch Hermit Thrush Same Hermit Thrush


Hermit thrush Northern Mockingbird Legume family plant with seed pods    


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Same Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Forster's Tern, about to dive    


Bee fly (Poecilognathus punctipennis) Common Buckeye Common Buckeye on blazing star Sleepy Orange  

Pond Ocola Skipper on blazing star      

Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC  12/21/13

Eastern Buckmoth (Hemileuca maia) Another view of this Eastern Buckmoth      


Eastern Buckmoth (Hemileuca maia), forewing showing Eastern Buckmoth (Hemileuca maia), hind wing showing Buck moth (Hemileuca maia), with an apparent wing development problem.  It may be a fresh metamorph, but the wings did not seem to be wet. Turkey Oaks A small Turkey Oak

This sign's placement (on the bank of the Cape Fear River) gives some indication of sand movement, perhaps largely as a result of Hurricane Sandy in late October.        


Phaon Crescent Unusual Firewheel Common Buckeye Horace's Duskywing Assassin bug (Zelus genus?)

Spotted Bee-balm (Monarda punctata) Tread-softly Red-banded Hairstreak    


Flower longhorn beetle  Mourning Doves  Bee fly (Exoprosopa genus) Phaon Crescent  


Prickly Pear flower with flower longhorn beetle.  The beetle finally got out of the flower after some struggling. Tread-softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus), a member of the spurge family.  It has stinging hairs.  Prickly Pears with flowers  Robber fly   


Broad-winged Skipper on marsh fleabane (camphorweed), Pluchea indica.  One of two seen together.  ID thanks to Harry LeGrand. Ox beetle (Strategus splendens) Gulf Fritillary (on an oak tree) Milkweed Assassin Bug Milkweed Assassin Bug nymph

Southern Pearly Eye Four bee flies (Poecilognathus genus) on an aster Wildflower, with bee flies, also Poecilgnathus genus Cactus    


Dung Beetle (Canthon imitator?)        


Spreadwing damselfly (probably Lestes genus) Robber fly A very fast-moving caterpillar, which crawled under more pine needles than over them Blueberry, with small flowers (~7 mm long) Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), with larger flowers (~10 mm long).  These were very common in this park.

Large Bee Fly (Bombilius major)        


Winged ant apparently being attacked by a wasp, on her abdomen, partially obscured by her wings.        


Springtail, perhaps Tomocerus genus, found with Beach Fleas (but not the one pictured in this row) Bold-based Zale Moth (Zale lunifera), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 3/9/09 Red-winged Sallow (Xystopeplus rufago, Xylenini tribe, Hadeninae subfamily), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC Leaffooted Bug.  This was very big, almost 2 inches long. Beach flea.  See other crustaceans.    


Golden Silk Spider couple (big one is female) Male Golden Silk Spider Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver (dorsal view) Praying Mantis nymph, was about an inch long  


Milkweed Assassin Bug Tumblebug beetle (dorsal view), playing dead Tumblebug beetle (ventral view) Velvet ant (Dasymutilla genus), about the size of a carpenter ant worker  


Red-shouldered Hawk Yellow Pitcher Plants Red-shouldered hawk    

Southern Pearly Eye Palamedes Swallowtail, photo by Karl D. Gottschalk Six-lined Racerunner Golden Silk Spider Anasaitis canosa, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 6/25/08.  ID thanks to Ryan Kaldari; see associated BugGuide page.  


Antlion (Vella americanum), between 2 and 3 inches long.  Great camouflage!  I saw the antlion flying to the tree, its wings sparkling in the sun. Hanging-thief (Diogmites genus).  A kind of robber fly. Male Horace's Duskywing Mystery wasp  


Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), seen flying back and forth (once) over Cypress Pond, Carolina Beach State Park, Hew Hanover County, NC, 1/6/08          

Earlier periods

Whitish tiger beetle (Cicindela gratiosa), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 6/23/06.  Although these beetles were numerous that day in the heart of CBSP, I'd never seen them there (or anywhere else) before.  They have been sighted in just a few counties in southern North Carolina.  ID thanks to Patrick Coin of Durham, NC. Southern Bee Killer (Mallophora orcina, subfamily Asilinae), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 10/12/06.  At first it looked like a big bumblebee: what a surprise to see those fly eyes! Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina), Carolina Beach State Park, NC, 10/13/06 Adult female Little Blue Dragonlet, seen at Carolina Beach State Park on 10/19/05.  The park was flooded, apparently by Hurricane Ophelia in September, which may have brought the many dragonflies I saw there. Wharf Crab (Sesarma cinereum) Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 12/12/05. Thanks to Garrett Herth for ID.


Sleepy Orange, Carolina Beach SP, New Hanover County, NC, 9/27/03.  Stage II. Sleepy Orange, Carolina Beach SP, New Hanover County, NC, 11/13/03.  Stage IV. American Snout, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC 11/13/03.  This Snout relied mainly on camouflage for defense, resting its "snout" and antennae on this twig.  This was an unusual discovery, not simply because Snouts are uncommon here in NC, but because butterflies are rarely found in this park (as are fauna in general). Red-banded Hairstreak, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 4/28/05.  This butterfly landed next to a pine needle and twisted its wing temporarily against it, but quickly took off anyway. Cedar Waxwings, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 12/20/06.  These were just a few of maybe 100.

 Copyright © 2005-2019 Dorothy E. Pugh

Map of Carolina Beach and surrounding area: The long road bordering the park on the east is Dow Road, your first right turn upon arriving on Pleasure Island from the north. Note that you can follow the trail through the park as well as the roads on this map. 

View Carolina Beach State Park in a larger map