Eleven Unitarian Coastal Fellowship members began the UCF late summer/fall nature walk series with a hike on the Elliott Coues Trail in Fort Macon State Park on Saturday, September 17th at 2 PM. The weather was fine, with partly cloudy skies and otherwise pleasant conditions. A northeast wind kept the mosquitoes mostly at bay as long as we kept moving. This nature walk was sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Committee and the Adult Spiritual Enrichment Committee. All pictures by Tom Wentworth.
We met at the beach access parking lot, but we opted to cross the park road and hike the sound side of the loop trail, which is more heavily forested than the ocean side. Trailside, we found a variety of fall-blooming flowers, especially the yellow, white, and violet heads of plants in the aster family. We were amazed to see numbers of Golden Silk Orb-Weaving Spiders in large webs strung between branches high (thankfully) above the trail. The canopy of live oaks and coastal red cedars provided shade on the sun-dappled, sandy trail, and occasional openings offered views of the yellowing saltmarsh grasses along Bogue Sound. We hiked east as far as the Marsh Pond bird-watching area, where we enjoyed viewing a variety of herons and egrets resting in the trees. We then retraced our steps to the beach access parking lot, completing our hike in about 2 hours. Please watch Our Coastline and The Wave for announcements of additional monthly nature walks planned for the fall!