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Round the State Round-up

October 24, 2007

A couple interesting bits of information in the Carolina birding community.

North Carolina’s first Buff-bellied Hummingbird showed up out east in Arapahoe a couple days ago. Awesome picture from the CBC site by Dick Barlow to the left. I’m not a state lister and Buffie isn’t a lifer for me so I won’t be making the 4 hour drive out there (had it been a Mango though…), but it’s a great reminder of what can happen if you leave your feeders up. I’ve still got mine out back even though I haven’t had a bird in nearly a month now. Perhaps North Carolina’s second Mango is too much to ask?

Second, the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife, filed a lawsuit last week against the National Park Service challenging the failure of the Park Service to adequately regulate and manage beach driving on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This year has apparently been the worst breeding season on record of shorebirds and waterbirds on the Seashore. Over the past ten years, breeding Common Terns have declined 96%, Black Skimmers 99%, Least Terns 40%, American Oystercatcher 49%, Piping Plover 57% and Gull-billed Terns 100% (no longer breed on the Seashore). The groups are seeking restrictions on beach driving to protect these birds (which have few options for places to breed), sea turtles and other natural resources on the Seashore. The Cape is one of my favorite birding places in all of Carolina, though I avoid it in the peak tourist season when beach driving is a big problem. The off-road vehicle lobby has been strong enough in the past to intimidate Park Service officials but it was thought that new management at the Cape would change that. Doesn’t seem to be working if a lawsuit has been filed. Restrictions on ORVs have been put in place on many of our national seashores, it’s a shame that it can’t be done here. This may make a lot of people angry, but it’s the right thing to do so we all can enjoy the Cape.

  1. Jochen permalink
    October 25, 2007 3:32 am

    Those that promote unlimited beach-driving are elevating their hobby (they don’t have to do this to make a living, right?) above yours, and they just don’t have the right to do this.

  2. October 25, 2007 11:33 am

    I agree Jochen, the problem is that there are people out on the Outer Banks who make a living on the ORVs and have the impression that their’s is the only interest group bringing money to the islands. Birders and other beachgoers are less obvious to the local economy, that’s why it’s so important for birders to wear their binoculars into businesses so they realize the economic impact we have.

    And besides that, the National Park System isn’t seeking to completely ban ORVs (though it would be fine with me if they did), they only want to limit it, especially in places where the birds are nesting. It’s ridiculous that the ORV lobby is unwilling even to compromise on that issue.

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