Scenes From the Elliot Coues Nature Trail

Elliot Couse Nature Trail

The Elliot Couse Nature Trail is a 3 1/4 mile loop hike found in Fort Macon State Park. This well maintained footpath leads through maritime forest, past a saltmarsh estuary environment and through the dune zone along the beach. It is popular with hikers, dog walkers, joggers, bird watchers and cyclists. I spent a morning along the wooded section on a late September day.

Photos From the Hike

Here’s a view of the Elliot Coues Nature Trail as it meanders through the maritime forest at Fort Macon State Park. This popular hike passes through forest, beside saltwater marshes and over the dune zone. The park is located at the eastern end of Bogue Banks, a barrier island, and next to the sea side community of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Adventurous hikers can expect to see lovely Live Oak and Red Cedar trees, views of the wetlands, dune zone, ocean and Beaufort Inlet while completing the circuit. This route is popular for hiking, dog walking, jogging and cycling.
The bent, curving limbs and trunks of this section of Live Oak Trees give the impression of a trail passing through a haunted forest. In reality this is the Elliot Couse Nature Trail at Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, NC. It’s not haunted at all. Or is it? Somewhere along the trail there is an old burying grounds for Civil War era soldiers. The exact location of the graves is unknown. This popular loop trail is about three and a quarter miles in length. It passes through maritime forest, past a salt marsh and through the dune zone. The woodlands is home to rabbits, squirrels, deer and an abundance of birds. Foxes and coyotes have been occasionally reported. The park is located on Bogue Banks, one of several barrier islands found along the North Carolina coast. When European explorers first slammed into the North American continent much of the islands were covered by forest like seen here. Today only remnants of these narly woodlands remain.
The Elliot Coues Nature Trail is a loop trail in Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. This relatively easy hike passes through maritime forest, past salt marsh and through the dune zone along the beach. In the wooded sections hikers are treated to a number of beautiful Live Oak and Red Cedar trees. There are also several nice views of the wetlands as well as a marsh pond where herons and egrets often gather. The beach portion of the loop passes over and through the dune zone with views of the beach, Atlantic Ocean and Beaufort Inlet. This well maintained path is popular with bird watchers, dog walkers, mountain bicyclists and other nature lovers.
A Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) perched along the marsh pond at Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Formerly called the Louisiana Heron, this bird is sitting on a limb next to the Marsh Pond Overlook along the Elliot Coues Nature Trail. The bird stayed amazingly calm, allowing me to slip within 25 feet or so; These large wading birds are native to the Atlantic coast of the Americans ranging from the northeast south to the Gulf coast, Caribbean and as far south as Brazil. Along the Pacific coast it can be found from California to Peru.. They typically breed in colonies, frequently in the presence of other species of herons and egrets. Breeding areas include swamps and other coastal areas. They usually lay 3 to 7 eggs on platforms of sticks built in shrubs and low-lying trees. A wading predator, they typically stalk their prey in shallow water. Their diet includes crustaceans, fish, insects and other aquatic creatures.
It’s just a Live Oak tree along the Elliot Coues Nature Trail. But if you’re like me you find these trees fascinating. This is in the Fort Macon State Park at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. The park is home to several beautiful live oaks and red cedars. It is Southern nature at it’s best.
A young Black-Crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is perched on cedar branches at the Marsh Pond in Fort Macon State Park. As this bird matures he will gain his stunning black and gray plumage. These small, stocky herons tend to be somewhat shy and elusive. This image was captured at the Marsh Pond Overlook along the Elliot Coues Nature Trail. This loop trail is a popular attraction at the park. Located at Atlantic Beach North Carolina, the park features pristine, undeveloped beaches, a Civil War era fort and visitor center with an informative museum. There is also a bath house and swimming area located in the park.
A Red Cedar tree arches over the Elliot Coues Nature Trail forming a natural arch over the path. This popular footpath forms a three and a quarter mile loop through Fort Macon State Park at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. The northern segment of the trail passes through dense maritime forest. After crossing the paved road that leads into the park, the southern section of the pathway leads hiker through the dune zone along the beach.
A White Ibis, Eudocimus albus, feeds in the salt marsh along the Elliot Coues Trail at Fort Macon State Park. Possibly the most common wading birds along the North Carolina coast, it isn’t unusual to see flocks of these white birds feeding in the yards of coastal homes. As a photographer it is easy to pass on imaging these common birds. After all, the only color to be found is the orange on the bills and legs and their striking blue eyes. Still they are worthy of photographic study. There is also a challenge involved. It can be difficult to bring out detail in the white plumage found on these coastal birds.
This Tricolored Heron, (Egretta tricolor), is perched on the limb of a dead tree in a salt marsh at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Encounters with this species is somewhat infrequent though several were observed on this late September hike. This wetland area is observed from the Elliot Coues Nature Trail at Fort Macon State Park.

This entry was posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Hiking Trail, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife Photography.

3 Comments

  1. Katrina Gunn October 14, 2022 at 9:34 am #

    Love the bird photos. I can never get close enough to get snapshots on my little point-and-shoot.

  2. Steve Estvanik October 14, 2022 at 11:54 am #

    I ching says “Perseverance furthers” and this post shows the results! Bird photography is one of the toughest topics

  3. Steve Heap October 14, 2022 at 1:44 pm #

    Some great shots of the live oaks, but particularly the birds. The heron was a great capture and composition. There is a bit too much repetition in the text though. I think you told me the length of the trail at least 3 times. I don’t think google likes that.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*