Saturday, October 09, 2010

Rachel Carson Reserve

I know this belongs on CT&T, but I still have to research estuaries and their importance before I post there. Today we traveled down to the Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve (that is so hard to type), located across Taylor's Creek in Beaufort, NC (the island stretched across the bottom of the photo, below). We couldn't find a trail that led to the ocean side, but we did hike into the interior of the western tip of the island.

With sandy soil and evergreens, the terrain is sparse, and we fought burrs working their way onto our socks even as we enjoyed the sight of Sun Blankets teetering in a slight breeze. But it's a great sanctuary for wildlife, and we spotted two of the wild horses that live on the reserve, along with oyster napping in their beds, pelicans, ibises, a heron, an osprey, and two types of crabs. It's times like these that I wonder if I visit Carolina destinations so I can blog, or I blog so I have an excuse to visit Carolina destinations!
A few photos:

During the three minute ferry ride across the creek, we spotted this wild horse grazing near ibises:

The ferry, piloted by Captain Farmer. Beaufort is in the background.

One view of the reserve:

Fiddler-type crabs scuttling toward nearby brush:

Close-up of a little guy who decided to take us on:

We soon happened on one of his larger cousins:

One of the wild horses. I have a better photo that I'm saving for the CT&T post:

What we believe is an osprey:

And last, for this post anyway, a photo of a butterfly that landed on a nearby Sun (Indian) Blanket:

A rugged little getaway just yards from Beaufort, NC.


HemlockMan said...

Some people want to remove feral horses from North America, claiming that they're an invasive species. However, horses evolved in North America and were here until the early Native Americans wiped them out with overhunting. So they were here and part of the ecosystem and it's only fitting that they've returned, however artificially. Let them stay.

Kimberli said...

I think those individuals are outnumbered, and I'm glad. The horses satisfy both sides: they're a draw for the tourist yet their presence reminds us these environments (Carrot Island, Shackleford Banks, Currituck) must be protected.

HemlockMan said...

I meant to mention the little crabs, too.

A few years ago Carole and I went walking along the shore at Huntington Beach State Park in SC (our favorite beach in SC) and this little ghost crab kept coming up to us. We think of such creatures as just little mindless automatons reacting only to immediate stimuli, but I am certain that this little crab was very curious about us. He kept coming up to us and wandering around us, checking us out. I suppose it's possible that he associated humans with food, but I've always felt that he just wasn't accustomed to seeing things like us on the beach at night and he wanted to see what we were and what we were doing there. I've never forgotten that experience with that little crustacean.

Kimberli said...

That's fascinating. The ghost crabs we've encountered ran, stopped for a minute, then skittered off. I have another photo of this ghost crab attempting to blend into the brush.

A very interesting encounter. You should include that in one of your novels.