Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

Click on arrows to show pull-down menus:


Archived-by-Date Pages


Fort Fisher State Recreational Area, Kure Beach, New Hanover County, NC

Located on Pleasure Island at the southern tip of New Hanover County, NC, this area offers a beach (on the Atlantic coast), an aquarium, and the Basin Trail, which extends west through a marshy and brushy area to the banks of the Cape Fear River on the west side of the island.   Bald Head Island is south of Fort Fisher, and is actually connected by the (very long!) beach. To read more at this place, visit the website of Fort Fisher State Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC.  For directions, see this live map.

Battle Acre Area, 12/28/19

Yellow Firewheels "Normal" Firewheel Firewheels Flags at the Visit Center Plane

Basin Trail, 12/26/19

Cargo ship on the Cape Fear River, far beyond Battery Buchanan (at Fort Fisher), as seen from the Fort Fisher Basin Trail. Climbing Hempvine Stick insect (Anisomorpha ferruginea)    

Double-crested Cormorants Double-crested Cormorant Distant fiddler crabs Firewheel  

Goldenrod, with a true bug Henbit Male Hooded Merganser Male Hooded Mergansers Mating stick insects (Anisomorpha ferruginea)  

Hooded Mergansers Hooded Mergansers Northern Mockingbird    

Battery Buchanan, 12/26/19

Plane Royal Tern Royal Tern Snowy Egret and young gull  

Snowy Egret Another Snowy Egret Same Snowy Egret Another Snowy Egret Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow Another Song Sparrow Fallen cedar tree    

Basin Trail and Cape Fear River, 12/21/18

Yellow Firewheels Brown Pelicans More Brown Pelicans Female Bufflehead Duckweed, Water Meal, possibly Water Fern


Firewheel Gulls Sea Myrtle Waves

Cape Fear River, 12/21/17

American Oystercatcher by the Cape Fear River American Oystercatcher with prey American Oystercatcher looking for prey Non-breeding Laughing Gulls  


Song Sparrow Tricolored Heron      


Tricolored Heron, Snowy Egret, and two juvie Ring-billed Gulls. One of the juvie Ring-billed Gulls. Ring-billed Gull in flight Ship on other side of the Cape Fear River with cranes. Song Sparrow


Song Sparrow with flowers Another Song Sparrow Sunrise at Carolina Beach Sunrise at Fort Fisher  

Basin Trail, 9/27/17

Queen Long-tailed Skipper Monarch Gulf Fritillary Pink Muhly Grass


Wandering Glider Spot-winged Glider Wandering Glider, one of about seven Another Wandering Glider in the same group Saddlebags


Black-throated Blue Warbler (migrating) Same Black-throated Blue Warbler Same Black-throated Blue Warbler Female Painted Bunting, a summer resident.  ID thanks to Harry LeGrand. Same female Painted Bunting


Tricolored Heron Mating stick insects (Anisomorpha ferruginea) Bee fly Fowler's Toad Male Common Green Darner


Carolina Anole        

Basin Trail, 3/8/17

Green Anole Green Anole American Oystercatcher American Oystercatchers Question Mark


Snails on dried marsh bed Heron and egrets      

Cape Fear River, 1/22/15

American Oystercatchers, Marbled Godwits, Short-billed Dowitchers and Dunlins Non-breeding Royal Tern Northern Harrier Short-billed Dowitchers, maybe one Marbled Godwit, and American Oystercatchers  


Great Blue Heron Cedar tree, 10.5 MB multi-photo stitch (two rows)  


Sparrow Snowy Egret Same Snowy Egret    

Atlantic Ocean, 10/21/14

Gulf Fritillary (ventral view) Gulf Fritillary (dorsal view) Semi-palmated Plover Another Semipalmated Plover Savannah Sparrow

Non-breeding Ruddy Turnstone Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) Ailanthus Webworm Moth    

Basin Trail 10/20/14

Common Buckeye Drone Fly (side view) Drone fly (front view) Tiny Wharf Crab  

Basin Trail 8/12/11

A view from the boardwalk of several White Ibises and a Great Egret  

White Ibises.  Photo by Karl D. Gottschalk. White Ibis landing White Ibis in flight White Ibis in the marsh  

Spider wasp  Will Cook and Harry LeGrand agree that this is a Salt Marsh Skipper.  The clincher was behavior: it feeds on marsh grass, close to the ground.  Compare Jeff Pippen's 2008 Salt Marsh Skipper photo Tumbling flower beetle Seaside Dragonlet  


Salt Marsh Pink (Sabatia stellaris) Sea Ox-eye Daisy Flower fly (Pseudodoros clavatus) on an Asian Dayflower Bee fly (Exoprosopa fascipennis) Brackish-water Fiddler Crab

Argid sawfly (Humeralis genus) Same Argid sawfly      

Basin Trail 8/11/11

Juvenile White Ibis and adult Great Egret sharing cedar tree Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron Sanderlings (20)    

Great Egret Great Egret in flight Seaside Dragonlet  

Brackish-water Fiddler Crab #1 Brackish-water Fiddler Crab #2 Brackish-water Fiddler Crab #3    

Cape Fear River 8/10/11

Sand Fiddler Crab Brackish-water Fiddler Crab      

Battle Acre 8/10/11

Horace's Duskywing Pennywort Typical Firewheels Pink Firewheels  

Cape Fear River 5/24/11

Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta qudrivittata)  Yellow Rat Snake       

Male Sand Fiddler Crab  Male Sand Fiddler Crabs: they competed for a crab hole, and the one on the right won.     

Basin Trail 5/24/11

Golden-winged Skimmer Katydid on Prickly Pear flower Diamondback Terrapin Tricolored Heron (in Cape Fear River) Thread-waisted Wasp, perhaps resting

Cape Fear River 5/23/11

Great Egret  Wharf Crab  Wharf Crab  Sand Fiddler and Brackish-water Crabs   

Great Egret American Oystercatcher Salt-marsh Skipper Pennywort  

Basin Trail 5/22/11

Red-winged Blackbird  Snowy Egret Campsomeris plumipes wasp on Firewheel Prickly Pear in flower   

Basin Trail 1/17/11

The weather started out cloudy and rained most of the day.

Hooded Mergansers, on pond near Aquarium, with grass in foreground Duck (brown head) with eel (according to Ed Corey) prey.  Ed and Josh Southern agree that the duck is a female merganser. Turkey Vulture taking off from viewing platform    

Subadult White Ibis Snowy Egret at Cape Fear River Mystery bird, may be Yellow-rumped Warbler (flashes of yellow) Male Boat-tailed Grackle, in Battle Acre parking lot.

Basin Trail 1/16/11

This was the only sunny day of the trip.

Cape Fear River mudflats, seen from near end of the Basin Trail Wading birds on the mudflats.  The one on the right is a Dunlin (ID thanks to Dave Lenat).  One of many flies seen on washed-up seaweed on the beach    

White Ibis White Ibises White Pelican, seen at the Aquarium pond from a great distance   Male Hooded Merganser, at the Aquarium pond

 Basin Trail 9/28/10

Queen, dorsal view Queen, ventral wing view Long-legged fly (Hydrophorus genus) Megachilid bee (note tiny fly on leftmost flower), one of many Wharf crab

Salt Marsh Pink (Sabatia stellaris) Pennywort flowers Firewheels Tievine (Ipomoes cordatatriloba)

Trailing Wild Bean in a drainage ditch Forked Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum).These wildflowers were common on the initial marshy stretch of the Basin Trail. Bitter Sneezeweed    

Near Visitors Center  5/12/10

Firewheels Maybe Daisy Fleabane, but the petals are suspiciously purple.      

Near Visitors Center 3/9/10

Dung beetle (Copris fricator) Hop Clover (Trifolium genus).  This is a composite of maybe twenty typical pea family flowers. A group of hop clover plants.  These plants were ubiquitous in grass. Maybe a Common Vetch      

Rock Slater (Ligia genus), a kind of crustacean.  This one had wandered just off the sand. Common Dandelion.  You can see the reproductive parts of the many individual flowers. Henbit    

Basin Trail 12/23/09


Basin Trail 10/15/09

Carolina Mantis, on boardwalk Another Carolina Mantis, with prey Gulf Fritillary Common Buckeye Question Mark


Milkweed Bug nymphs?  They were moving very fast, looked like fire ants at first. Milkweed Bug nymph with the beginnings of black wing pads Two Milkweed Bug nymphs, representing two instars Two Milkweed Bug nymphs on another plant, moving very little.  More little black wing pads.  


Male Sand Fiddler Crab (Uca pugilator) Monarch butterfly Leafcutter bee (Megachilidae family)    


Carolina Saddlebags Eastern Mud Turtle, about 2 inches long      

Near Visitors Center 3/8/09

Red-headed Woodpecker, near Visitor Center, 3/8

Outdoors trail, part of Aquarium 6/26/08

Male Golden-winged Skimmer Male Golden-winged Skimmer.  Photo taken by Karl D. Gottschalk. Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida) Blue Dasher Young adult male Eastern Pondhawk

Very young Yellowbelly Slider, sitting on top of a faded, upended Lotus flower. Male Boat-tailed Grackle Cuckoo Wasp    

Cape Fear River 1/7/08

Red-winged Blackbird European Starlings, non-breeding adults Great Blue Heron    

Beach and Basin Trail 12/3/07

Tricolored Heron Willet Immature Great Black-backed Gull, according to Jeff Pippen.  According to Sibley (2003), it was in its first winter.


Fruit flies (Senopterina genus), Ft. Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06.  Note the black triangles on the otherwise translucent wings. Robber Fly (Efferia albibarbis), Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06 Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver, Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06


Cicada nymph skin, discarded by adult cicada. Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06 Female Yellow-and-Black Argiope, Fort Fisher, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06 Red-banded Hairstreak, Ft. Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06


Queen (Danaus gilippus), 8/27/03 The same Queen


Male Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami), Fort Fisher, 7/16/04.  About five of these red dragonflies showed up together at the beginning of the Basin Trail, but I've never seen any of this species before or since.  Randy Emmitt and Josh Rose provided this ID. This female Needham's Skinner was flying all around the Ft. Fisher Basin Trail on 10/18/05, but never landed.


Great Egret (Ardea alba), Fort Fisher Basin Trail, NC, 9/29/04. White Ibis, Fort Fisher State Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/20/06 American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), Ft. Fisher State Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 12/19/06.  ID thanks to Ritch Lilly.


11/17/04 Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, 10/18/05. Same place and day.

Copyright © 2007-2019 Dorothy E. Pugh


Map of Fort Fisher Recreation Area: The pointer shows the entrance to the parking lot for the main beach and the entrance to the Basin Trail.  The Ramsgate Trail is also known as the Basin Trail.  Fort Fisher Boulevard South leads to the Southport Ferry station and, at the very end, the Battery Buchanan Tour Stop with its famous oyster-gathering jetty.  The beach on the east/right extends southward all the way to Bald Head Island; it is a very long distance!

View Larger Map