Tideland Trail: Cedar Point, North Carolina

The Tideland Trail at Cedar Point, NC is part of the Croatan National Forest. It is located on VFW Road, just off of NC 58, 1 1/4 miles north of NC 24. The area includes a camp ground, a boat launch, a picnic area and two loop trails: 1.3 miles and .6 miles in length respectively. The trails meander through a salt marsh, along the White Oak River and through the woods. Wooden foot bridges provide easy access across wet areas. The trail is graveled and smooth. The site is wheel chair accessible. There is a flush toilet located at the trail-head.

This is an excellent location for viewing a variety of birds year round. The last two or three years there has been a nesting pair of Osprey on site Spring through Fall. Great Egret and Great Blue Heron are almost always present. Other commonly viewed birds around the salt marsh include; Red-tail hawk, Fish Crow, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tri-color Heron, Boat-tail Grackle, Red Wing Blackbird, and belted Kingfisher. Forest birds include: Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Carolina Wren, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker. Of course I’ve also seen Laughing Gull and Brown Pelican as well as Cardinals, Yellow Legs and others.

The site is popular with locals for dog walking, bird watching and fitness walks. Bird photographers should expect a lot of interruptions on weekends, especially during the summer months. Early weekday mornings during the cooler months are usually best if you want to avoid noisey hikers. The gravel covered trail is a bit noisey so approaching skiddish birds can be challenging. Many of the feathered residents are somewhat used to people and stay fairly calm when being photographed. This would be an excellent location for someone that photographs from a kayak. Bring bug spray in the warmer months. Be aware sighting a poisonous snake wouldn’t be impossible in this location.

For folks new to bird watching or wildlife photography it’s always a good idea to wear earth tones. Greens, browns, etc. will help you be less noticeable to the birds. Talk quietly and try not to scuff your feet to get closer veiws of the birds. There are a number of wooden benches set in place along the trail. In most cases the benches correlate with good bird watching locations.

Wooden bridges provide easy crossings throughout the salt marsh.

A Great Blue Heron searches for the morning's breakfast. A blue Jay perched on the sun bleached remains of a pine tree.

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