On my return trip north I was on the ocean side of the road and stopped at this beach. There are a number of beaches all along the islands, but on Pea Island I believe you are only allowed to enter where there is a number.
Pea Island is one of the best locations within the United States! Birds can be seen in the many salt flats, freshwater lagoons, and in the numerous marshes located in the refuge. The refuge was established in 1938. Stop by the Refuge Visitor Center, located on the east side of North Pond, for interprestive exhibits and brochures.
I do not know if they nested here over the winter or just resting during their migration north. I saw several flocks at the north end of the island. Besides snow geese, I saw black and white pelicans, several varieties of ducks, and egrets while driving down Pea Island. There was no particular spot, just kept my eyes open.
North Pond Wildlife Trail is a half-mile trail which offers spectacular wildlife observation any season.
The best birding is during the fall and winter. The trail is located near the Visitor Center. Most visitors walk this trail to the end - a double-level tower - and then retrace their steps to the Visitor Center and their vehicles. It is possible to go all the way around on an access road, but the best views are from the trail.
We walked out along the short North Pond trail, and we could see many ducks and swans and even some wading birds out there. There were binoculars on stands every so often along the trail. It was a 'handicapped accessible' trail which meant not only was it a smooth surface, but some of the binoculars were wheelchair height.
It was a bit cold, so we didn't walk all the way out. On the way back we met a group with a guide who was explaining to the folks in the group that they were seeing Lesser Scaups and how to tell the difference by the wing feathers.
New Field Pond and the area south of the Wildlife Trail and west of NC Highway 12 to New Inlet are Closed to All Public Entry.
Pea Island was named for the wild pea vine which grows in there abundance. (Note - spelled with an A)
The refuge was established in May 17, 1937. It has 5,834 acres of land, and 25,700 acres (Proclamation Boundary Waters) total and is located on the north end of Hatteras Island. The island with the refuge is pproximately 13 miles long (north to south) and ranges from a quarter mile to 1 mile wide (from east to west). This is one thing that we visited that was actually better at the time we were there.
I had told Bob I wanted to stop at Pea Island Wildlife Reserve, but he overshot it and had to come back. We went into the visitor's center and I talked to the ranger. She gave us a stamp for the Alligator River too, which we don't really deserve because we've only skirted the edges. I also got a map of that reserve. Both these reserves are administered by Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as a part of complex; Alligator River Manager supervises the Mackay Island, Currituck, and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Manager
I saw alot of people fishing along the islands but not off the beaches. I am sure you need a license.
The vegitation ranges from salt marshes, to dunes. I suspect this is what the dunes looked like for millenia.
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