American Oystercatcher. Photo: P. Vankevich

By Peter Vankevich

The National Park Service for years has run a Friday morning bird walk at 8:30 at the north end of Ocracoke Island but this year the walks will start at the NPS campground parking lot–much closer to the village.

Ocracoke is wonderful place for birding with fascinating species: Black Skimmers, Royal and Sandwich Terns, American Oystercatchers, Boat-tailed Grackles, Eastern Towhees with an island accent, and Prairie Warblers, to name just a few.

Eastern Towhee. Photo by P. Vankevich

These guided bird walks will explore an array of habitats and will include the beach, adjoining barrier dunes and Hammock Hills, a maritime forest.

Park Ranger Letitia Lussier will once again lead these walks.  Growing up in Maine, with a real love for nature and birds, she became a serious birder in college after taking an ornithology class that offered weekly field trips.

That experience grew into a lifelong passion, which resulted in her leading bird walks for every national park that she has worked for. Her goal is to inspire visitors to enjoy and appreciate birds, as well.

All levels are welcome. Please bring bug spray, sunscreen and water. A limited supply of binoculars is available.

Banding pelicans is a two-person operation. Letitia Lussier, one of several volunteers, assists master bander John Weske on Big Foot Island, off Ocracoke, a few years ago. Photo: P. Vankevich
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