Friday, October 17, 2014

Parker River NWR for best birdwatching spot

This is cool. Parker River NWR is included in USA Today's poll for favorite birdwatching spot. You can vote once a day. Also note they're using Matt Poole's lovely piping plover photo to represent PRNWR -- definitely PRNWR's most representative bird.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

updates

Numbers as of this past Monday:
Refuge: 26 pairs,  4 chicks,  59 fledgelings;  Sandy Point: 5 pairs, 1 chick, 11 fledgelings; Town Beach: 2 pairs, 5 fledgelings.

As of yesterday (Friday  August 22) Lot 7 is open.

Want to help clean up the beach? Coast Sweep is coming up on September 13. Come to Lot 1 from 9AM-3PM. Trash bags provided. You never know what interesting trash you will find in the wrack.


fashionistas invade the beach (August 15)

Catching up with blogging my adventures: this is the entry for August 15.

Coffee of the Day: Ethiopian Harrar
Bird of the Day: least tern
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: well, the fashion model's glasses haven't washed back up yet, so I'm going to have to call it the Weird Wrack Item of Next Week. Yeah, there's a story here.
Invisibird Status: No report from biological staff. Number actually seen by me: 2.

Looking South
The beach is still closed because there are still chicks who can't fly yet.  I thought they'd all be fledged by now, but they're not. Also, there are unfledged least tern young. So there I was out there this morning expecting a typical shift with a manageable number of visitors. Hah!

Big Waves
The tide was coming in and the waves were particularly big. Further up the island off the Newbury town beach, in the surfing sweet spot, there were more surfers and stand-up paddle boarders that I've seen all summer. I intercepted a few kids and joggers about to enter the closed area, answered questions about piping plovers and least terns and even one about tree swallows, then all heck broke loose.

I spotted a group of college age kids in the closed area. They had come in behind me while I was intercepting a kid at the water line. I politely explained that they had entered a nesting area and asked them exceedingly politely to leave. They were not happy but they did move to the open beach. They turned out to be doing a fashion photo shoot -- a photographer, models, and their driver. They wanted pristine beach empty of visitors.  A beach-goer who used to work the gatehouse several years back tried to help by suggesting alternatives. I chimed in and tried to send them to Rye -- which I thought would be more picturesque and unpopulated than say Salisbury or Hampton.  Former gatehouse tried to negotiate and get me to bend the rules to let them a little ways into the closed area. I radioed Gatehouse (the real one) but had trouble being understood on the radio. All I could find out was that there was no Law Enforcement on duty. Dang, I could've used Unit 61.

Fashionistas Assembling for the Photo Shoot
I finally got hold of Unit 9 on her cell phone and explained the situation. She reiterated "absolutely not" in answer to their pleas to be allowed in the closed area. Finally, they selected a spot on the open beach close to the line and asked some visitors to move. They started their photo shoot.  I told Unit 9 I would stay until the shoot was done because there was no relief on the schedule and these people needed to be watched.

Former gatehouse noticed that a gull was trying to take stuff out of a backpack belonging to one of the models. She zipped up the backpack and offered to take care of the fashionistas' belongings for the duration of the shoot. Big Steve made an appearance and was supportive. The models were doing the beach clothes first, then planning to change to the swimsuits. One of them started to worry that they would not be done by 3:00PM and she had to be at a fashion show. Former gatehouse didn't want to watch their stuff that long and I was worried I would be severely dehydrated  by then, not to mention really hungry.

The Wily Herring Gull
They changed to swimsuits (using the same tricks I learned for doing that when camping with 5 brothers). They went into the water. I mentioned the waves were unusually big, right? The models stand with their backs to the waves. Big Steve, former gatehouse, and I stare with mouths agape. Where are these kids from? Former gatehouse says some are from North Carolina and some from Framingham. OK, they have waves in North Carolina. Big ones. Framingham not so much, but still. Model gets knocked over and comes up the beach to borrow former gatehouse's towel. None of the models have brought towels. For a swimwear photo shoot on the beach. Whatev (is that how you spell it?).

They did a few poses with the female models on the backs of the male models, in the surf, with their backs to the ever bigger incoming waves. One couple gets knocked over. The boy ends up with huge scratches on his ribcage from the girl's fingernails. We ask if he needs medical attention. He says no.

More surf shots. One male model is in the water with his glasses on -- not chic sunglasses or hipster glasses, actual prescription glasses. He gets knocked over and surfaces without his glasses. The glasses vanished. Model calls his Mom. She paid for the glasses on her medical insurance. No one is happy. Fortunately, he has brought his contact lens and they are safely zipped in the backpack. Yup, the thing the gull was trying to get out of the backpack was the contact lens container. So glad former gatehouse zipped the backpack.

Meanwhile a toddler runs full tilt into the closed area chasing a gull. I turn to run after her and trip over the stick fence that Big Steve and I had made to mark the boundary. Fortunately, I grabbed the back of my chair, which was nearby and well dug in to the sand, and managed not to fall.

Finally, all the swimsuit models dry themselves off with former gatehouse's towel, put their clothes back on, and leave. By this time I am starving and thirsty, not necessarily in that order. I wait until they are on the boardwalk before I pack up.

I could throw in a completely irrelevant fish story here, but I've rambled on long enough. I should rewrite this story to make it shorter, but here it is for now.

Oh, and on the way out I told Gatehouse I am done for the season.