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Habitats at 1,590-acre Woods Bay also include marsh, sandhills, an oak-hickory forest and a shrub bog. More than 75 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians are found here, along with more than 150 species of birds, changing with the seasons. (Woods Bay State Park)

Plants and trees adapted to poor, dry soils such as grasses, cactus, longleaf and loblolly pine, and scrub oak are found along the bay’s sand rim. Black gum, red bay, pond and tupelo cypress trees rise above mats of pond lilies and duck weed in flooded areas within the perimeter of the bay. Boggy areas may be the setting for bladderwort, pitcher plants, and the Venus fly trap.

Oxygen levels in the black waters of the bay are low, and tannin and acidity levels are high. Bowfin, a primitive species of fish that dates back to the age of the dinosaurs, swims in the murky waters of the pond. The bowfin may be seen breaching the water to gulp air into its swim bladder, an unusual physical adaptation to water that is low in oxygen.

In this video Bryn Harmer, manager of Woods Bay State Natural Area, introduces us to the diversity of habitat and animal and plant life that can be observed at the park.

Bryn Harmer, manager of Woods Bay State Natural Area, explains theories behind the formation of Carolina Bays and other aspects of this most unusual landform in the this video.

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