Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, Carteret County, NC

What is it like in parts of North Carolina where people don't encourage songbirds to come around, where there are little or no bird feeders, birdhouses, and so on?   The birds that live here on Cedar Island near the Ocracoke Ferry dock are the real survivors, with imports being greatly overrepresented.  Most that we saw the first day of spring here were either European Starlings or Brown-headed Cowbirds.

For those able to travel back into the marshes, there is a variety of water birds; see the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Cedar Island NWR page.   But don't expect to find too many species of songbirds there!

Cedar Island is a varied natural environment.  On the immediate north side of the ferry landing is a large shallow cove, which traps dozens of jellyfish at a time near the shore.  Because of the great expanse of this cove, the warm water contributes to an unusually warm environment with little wind in the summer (and probably colder air in the winter). Swallows cluster a little distance inland, on the other side of grassy dunes, while House Sparrows are found everywhere except the shore and squabble over territory.  Mosquitoes abound but few other insects are found. 

May 8, 2013

Killdeer, which was inside a small fenced-in area and seemed to feel safe there Least Tern (Sterna antillarum) Semi-palmated Plover Snowy Egret False Garlic

May 22, 2012

Fledgling House Sparrow Chairmaker's Rush and Beach Pennywort A grassy dune A robber fly  

Red jellyfish White jellyfish Many small jellyfish    

March 21, 2005 (near Ocracoke ferry dock)

Male House Finch Northern Mockingbird preening Same bird Male House Sparrow Brown-headed Cowbird, one of maybe a dozen in a pine tree. Common Starlings definitely run the show around here. A close-up of more of the same.

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