Fort Macon State Park is probably best known for its Civil War era earthen mound fort. Used for military purposes not only during the War Between the States but during World War II. The facility also served as a military and civil prison during the late 1800s. The park includes a nice 1.5 mile stretch of undeveloped beach. The beach is popular with fishermen, swimmers and both nature and portrait photographers. It is an excellent location to view a variety of shore birds including gulls, brown pelicans, least sandpipers, sanderlings, and others. The park is home to 302 species of birds. The park’s plant life includes live oak, yaupon, cedar and black locust. While not one of eastern North Carolina’s wildest places, it is certainly a wonderful place to observe nature.
Below are pictured a Great Black-backed Gull and a Sanderling. At about 30″ the Black-backed Gull is the largest of the gulls. The Black-backed Gull winters in the Southeast, spending its summers in the Northeast. A small bird, Sanderlings are frequently seen running along the edges of the Carolina beaches in the winter. These small birds probe the sand with their bills searching for a meal of miniature mullusks, crustateans, worms and insects. Like the Great Black-backed Gull, Sanderlings winter in the Southeast. During the summer months these little birds spend their time on the artic tundra.