There’s a spot on the boardwalk next to the Town Hall in Duck, N.C., that everyone knows is famous for doughnuts. This morning dozens of customers wait in line for up to half an hour, and the fall menu boasts flavors like Pumpkin Streusel, Pumpkin Roll and Maple Bacon.
Only a few yards away there’s another place that should be famous, but very few people have ever heard of it. Here, atop the live oaks and the willows is a different fall menu — the Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Black-and-White, Prairie, Palm, Black-throated Blue and Northern Parula warblers.
Doughnuts are my weakness — oh the lengths I will go and the calories I’m willing to trade. Today at the donut shop there’s a deliciously wicked autumn confection called Caramel Apple Pie (apple glaze with salted caramel drizzle), and my stomach is growing.
These flavors won’t be around for long, but neither will the fall warblers – hands down my favorite birds.
Many of them have flown in from their nesting grounds in Canada and the Northeast, touching down on the Outer Banks only long enough to fatten up for the next leg of a journey to the Gulf of Mexico, then across the waves to their wintering grounds in Latin America. According to eBird, there’s a darn good chance of spotting 15 types of warblers and a “reasonable” chance of seeing 11 others along the boardwalk today between the Methodist Chapel and the Duck Donuts shop. That’s almost a third of all the warblers found in the U.S.
Here’s a video of a Black-throated Green Warbler, frantically collecting fuel for its migration: