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A successful field trip to the Outer Banks

I recently returned from my latest class field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I am fortunate to teach an upper level marine bio course at Ashland University in Ohio.  Yes, Ohio.  My students can see live marine specimens in our saltwater aquarium, and lots of collected organisms from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but the highlight of the course is definitely our trip to North Carolina, where we stay at the Oregon Inlet campsite and make day trips up and down the coast.  This is the third time I have taken my class to the OBX, and as usual we lucked out on weather.  We avoided rain, had great temperatures, but did get blown out of our campsite the last night by high winds (a late night escape to my Mother’s house in Southern Shores got us some sleep before the 13 hour drive back home).

Here is a taste of our trip (thanks to my colleague Patty Saunders for serving as trip photographer).  Still to come, some video and food highlights:

Our welcome to the beach after 15 hours on the road

Breaking camp the first morning

Kayaking out of Manteo harbor with the Queen Elizabeth II in the background

Official portrait on the Manteo dock

Lots of beachcombing, and a mini-study on how Oregon Inlet affects shell deposition on the beach

Beach seining yielded some small blue crabs, croaker (or spot), silverside and shrimp. The water was cold, but it was worth it.

Juvenile dolphins playing off the beach just south of Oregon Inlet

. . . and a large group of royal terns. You can see Bodie Light wrapped up in the distance while it gets a refurbished Fresnel lens (right side of picture).

Birding on Pea Island

At the top of Hatteras Light, after a great history lesson in the failures of beach stabilization by a Lighthouse volunteer

One of many beautiful sunsets over the dunes

4 comments to A successful field trip to the Outer Banks

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