|Barrier island chain|
The Outer Banks (frequently abbreviated OBX) are a 200-mile long stretch of barrier islands off the coast of eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. They line most of the North Carolina coastline, separating the Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sounds from the Atlantic Ocean. The Outer Banks are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and hurricanes, and over time the islands are reshaped by the ocean and strong hurricanes.
The Outer Banks in North Carolina can be accessed by several bridges and ferries. The Virginian part of the Outer Banks is separated for vehicle travel by Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, and is accessed from the north at Dam Neck.
The Outer Banks are fantastic for many different types of birds year-round. In the winter, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl winter along the outer banks, notably at Pea Island, and vagrants from the west consistently show up.
Portions of the Outer Banks, particularly Cape Hatteras, stick out into the Atlantic near the Gulf Stream. The warmer waters of the Gulf Stream attract pelagic birds, and private companies offer boat trips to the Gulf Stream for birding.
An incomplete list of birding spots along the Outer Banks, from north to south:
- Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- False Cape State Park
- Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
- Duck Boardwalk
- Kitty Hawk Woods
- Nags Head Woods Preserve
- Marshes at Wanchese
- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
- Bodie Island lighthouse pond and woods
- Oregon Inlet
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- Cape Hatteras
- Buxton Woods Preserve
- Ocracoke Island
- Cape Lookout National Seashore
- Cape Lookout
- Shackleford Banks
- Hammocks Beach State Park