Bethanie Sprague spotted a manatee Sunday evening at the end of the Outer Banks Fishing Pier in south Nags Head, one of a handful of sighting this summer around the area.
Pier staff posted a series of photos of the somewhat unusual visitor on Facebook.
Last month, a manatee stopped for a drink of fresh water in the canal in Colington Harbour, too.
Usually associated with Florida and its warmer waters, sightings have become a more regular occurrence locally in the last few years, with the creatures swimming as far north as coastal Virginia during summer migration season, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The manatee is protected marine mammal and any sightings should be reported to the USFWS, the agency says. In 2019, there were several sightings of manatees along the Outer Banks and into Virginia Beach through late fall, with one manatee death in Virginia Beach likely due to cold-water stress.
Call to report all manatee sightings, including any live, distressed and dead manatees:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Law Enforcement – North Carolina
Call: 919-856-4786, extension 34
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
For more information about manatees in North Carolina, click here.