Lake Mattamuskeet 2014: 2020 Update

Tundra Swans Lake Mattamuskeet 2014
Tundra Swans Lake Mattamuskeet 2014

In January 2014 we headed east to visit the Outer Banks, Pea Island, Lake Mattamuskeet, and other places to see the Tundra Swans and other birds. Unlike our visit to Lake Mattamuskeet in 2008 we did see some Tundra Swans this year (2014). However, there were not as many Tundra Swans as there were during our visit to Lake Mattamuskeet in 2007 when the lake was white with Tundra Swans.

Flock of flying tundra swans
Flying high

We did see a few egrets and other birds, but the overall bird population seemed to be down. We didn't see many ducks, but we read that the duck population was high in 2013.

There is a new visitor center at Lake Mattamuskeet Refuge headquarters that is well worth a visit.

Health of Lake Mattamuskeet

Lake Mattamuskeet seemed to be less healthy this year than in past years. The water levels seemed to be lower than we expected, especially since we were there just after rain. The plant population and around the lake seemed to be sparse in several places. Many areas that were heavy with birds and aquatic plants in previous visits we empty of both plants and birds. And it the plants that draw the birds.

Our concerns about the health of the lake were reinforced when we saw numerous signs saying Save Lake Mattamuskeet. The signs were in almost every yard and field near the lake. When we got back to our condo, we checked the internet to see what was going on. Most of these sites seem to be gone but I looked around the web to find updated information> The picture painted at web sites,such as the video at video seemed pretty dire and reinforced our observations.

Update August 22, 2020. I haven't been to Lake Mattamuskeet since our 2014 visit so I decided to check the web to see how things were. It appears that the situation is getting worse. I found a long discussion thread at Lake Mattamuskeet that painted a dire picture of the future of the lake. I searched the internet to see if I could find more information about the current state of the lake. Most of what I found indicated that the situation was worse than it was at our last visit in 2014. The timeline at timeline of changes shows how the quaity of the lake has decreased in the past several years. Some studies are underway such as this one Mattamuskeet research and there seems to be a plan Lake Mattamuskeet restoration but any real action seems to be years away. And the current covid 19 virus is likely to set thing back. Some more information about the lake can be found here Restoring Lake Mattamuskeet. More about the plan to restore the lake can be found here Restore plan

pair of flying tundra swans
Pair flying
Pair of Tundra Swans paddling
Pair of Tundra Swans Paddling on Lake Mattamuskeet 2014