A New Sunset Experience

Even after always living about two hours from the Outer Banks, Motor Man and I learned something new about that area this week.

We never knew before, that from the middle of July until about the middle of September, tens of thousands of purple martins roost under the William B. Umstead  bridge over the Croatan Sound near Roanoke Island, just west of the town of Manteo. Then, in September, they begin their migration to South America.

Since we were in the area Tuesday evening, we researched online and learned that, every day, the birds leave their roosts under the bridge around sunrise and return at sunset. During the day, they fly over the coastal plains of North Carolina in search of insects.  The information suggested that you arrive at the bridge about 30 minutes before sunset to watch the martins return.

It had been an overcast day, and the clouds provided a beautiful sky as we waited.

 walk in golden hour 7-22-2014 7-41-03 PM

Since we had the tripod, we took advantage of the photo op. (Sadly, a light reflection on the lens created spots on my face and Motor Man’s shirt.)

jrdb 7-22-2014 7-39-29 PM

 As the sun was setting, the martin activity began to increase.

pier before sunset 7-22-2014 8-00-54 PM

Most of the birds were about halfway across the approximately 2-mile bridge, so we weren’t able to get really good photos of them from our vantage point at the foot of the bridge.

martins2 7-22-2014 8-12-41 PM

But it was a nice evening and a new experience for us. We also learned of a special sunset boat cruise, sponsored by the Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society,  so there’s the possibility of a future blog post with better photos of the martins.

~These Days Of Mine~

16 responses to “A New Sunset Experience

  1. Beautiful sky……that little boat cruise would be fun!


  2. Fun post, I’m sure you’ll return there – just beautiful 🙂 MJ

  3. Beautiful pictures even if you didn’t get the pictures you wanted of the marines.

  4. Darn tablet. You know I meant “MARTENS”!!!

  5. Beautiful skies and beautiful photo of you guys!!! Love it!

  6. Pretty photos! At least you got to see lovely birds that congregate there. Here we don’t have such a pretty sight. Every year In mid July, hordes of insects called mayflies flock to our river. They mate and then die leaving thousands and thousands of carcasses on the bridge roadways making them as slippery as ice. It’s a weird phenomenon.

  7. Beautiful pictures. My kayaking club is doing a paddle Friday night to watch them from the water under the bridge. I just might have to go along!

  8. I love when nature is able to successfully adapt to our encroachment. Good for those martins to use the bridge and i hope you get to see the return someday.

  9. My neighbors all put up special bird houses to attract purple martins because they are such great insect hunters. To see so many is a real thrill and I hope you take that cruise some day for “up closer” views.

  10. I was going to ask how this trip was, but I figured it would be a post sometime soon! I still say you should get a martin house .. they’d have plenty of food down there by the water !

  11. Even though you didn’t get to click the birds it looks beautiful that night! I think the boat cruise sounds like THE thing to do!

  12. Wonderful photos. Don’t you just love learning new things about familiar places? I would have never guessed about them gathering and migrating like that. Awesome experience.

  13. Beautiful! Great photo of you and Motor Man!

  14. Still wonderful photos. My grandma had a Martin house up at her cottage on the lake when I was growing up. They are really neat birds.

  15. That’s an interesting find about the purple martins. You had some beautiful skies overhead, and it’s always nice to see the two of you together.

  16. Sweet and beautiful photos! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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