POCOSIN LAKES NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
By Jerry Lotterhos
The 100,000 acres that comprise this National Refuge are located in some of eastern North Carolina's wildest country. A "pocosin" is what the native Algonquin Indians of the area described as "a swamp on a hill". Most of the land is swampy with some parts a few feet above sea level. The water components of the Refuge include Pungo Lake, Lake Phelps, and the smaller New Lake. These lakes are resting places for thousands of Tundra Swans and Snow Geese, and many species of ducks in the winter. The lakes provide no food to the waterfowl because they grow no bottom vegetation due to the very dark water not allowing light to the bottom. So the birds must forage in fields in the area, some of which is grown by the Refuge, and some coming from the many corn and other crop farms in the area. Some local farmers leave part of their crops in the field for the birds. The waterfowl are a real sight in the winter, arriving usually after the first full moon in November and leaving in late February.
The vast majority of the Refuge is not accessible and is home to the endangered Red Wolf population and to the largest Black Bear population in the eastern U.S.There are also many frog and snake species as well as a healthy spring and fall migration of songbirds.
My favorite time to visit is in the winter when the waterfowl are at a peak, but spring and fall are good as well .See slideshow at right. If you go, bring your bear spray!!! For more info and history, click here.
CLICK "PLAY" ABOVE LEFT OF THE KILLDEER TO SEE HE SLIDESHOW >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>