South Point Re-Opens

Jenny Scarborough
South Point Re-Opens
Photo by Brittany Borseth

Fishermen once again have lines in the water at South Point.

The stretch of beach near Ocracoke Inlet favored by anglers closed on May 27, and as of August 19 is fully accessible to vehicles and pedestrians. After the months of closure, shelling should be particularly good.

Allen Sutton from Tradewinds Tackle took a beach ride to check it out. "There are people fishing, and people walking, looking for shells," he said. "The point is real pretty. It's got a nice shape to it and there's a little bar" that looks good for drum fishing soon. "Right now it looks like a good place to cast for spanish and blue", said Sutton.

You can drive all the way to the point, and the inlet side is open to pedestrians.

More of the point remained opened in 2013 than in previous years, said NPS lead biological technician Jocelyn Wright. "I talked to the birds and told them not to spread their nests out too much," she joked.

The ORV management plan in place for Cape Hatteras National Seashore says the beach can be opened for public access two weeks after the last chick fledges. Monday marks two weeks since the last bird found its wings.

There are hundreds of birds in the same area, and the four biotechs working on Ocracoke this season did several walk-throughs to make sure all the baby birds are off the ground, explained Wright. "We are vigilant and err on the side of caution," she said. "We want to make sure we didn't miss someone. We hate to open it and then close it a day later."

South Point Re-Opens
Two pairs of piping plovers were on Ocracoke beaches, the same number as in 2012, but for some reason neither duo made babies. Perhaps predation disrupted the nests, or an especially high tide. Biotechs observed a lot of territorial disputes this year, which may or may not affect nesting. Younger birds aren't always the best parents, and sometimes abandon their nests, said Wright. Maybe one of the birds had a headache.

The oysters catchers got their groove on, with 9 pairs producing 9 chicks, the highest numbers of any district in the National Seashore. Colonial waterbirds and Wilson's plovers did great as well, said Wright.

Ocracoke also had 54 sea turtle nests in 2013. One will be excavated tomorrow, on Tuesday, August 20, at 11:15 a.m. The public is welcome to attend. Wright said she hopes for but can't promise live hatchlings. Use the parking area north of the Pony Pens and walk 0.2 miles north.




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