Saturday, April 14, 2007

Before the Storm

Radio and TV have been hyping tomorrow's alleged northeast storm heavily, predicting 20 foot waves. The waves are not that high today, but boy is it ever windy. I lost count of the number of times my hat blew off. Fortunately it didn't land in the ocean. The gulls, all three usual species (ringbilled gull, herring gull, and great black back), keep flying into the wind and getting blown back. They must enjoy it.

I'm at the north boundary this week (I did south last week). I got here at 8:30 because I had to wait for Plum Island Coffee Roasters to brew the coffee -- they opened late. The French roast Sumatra was worth it.

A big flock of long-tailed ducks floats way offshore. A few of them come in close enough to get a look at. Every once in awhile when the wind dies down for a second I can hear them calling. Several long lines of migrating cormorants stream by straight north. Two birders with big scopes tell me they've seen a red necked grebe, but try as I might I can't locate between the waves. The increasingly large waves -- the tide is going out but the waves are getting bigger as the wind shifts around. An organized group of birders shows up and as if on cue two northern gannets come in really close to shore.

The symbolic fencing fairy (actually Unit 3 and the new guy) has gifted us with not only rope and signs to mark the boundary but floats and an anchor so the rope stays in place at low tide. I tell Unit 3 it must be working because every single set of footprints I saw when I got here ends at the rope. Nobody sneaked in early in the morning. Of course none of this will stand up to the expected storm if it really does have 20 foot waves. We talk circulation of sand -- one of my favorite topics -- and how the beach changes subtly from week to week and dramatically after major storms. Unit 3 says the forlorn-looking teddy bear that washed up last week is still in almost the same spot it was last weekend. We agree that will change tomorrow.

Running out of time before the laundromat closes... must summarize:
Only spoke to 6 visitors (not counting the large group of birders to whom I said hello). Didn't see any piping plovers. Wasn't unbearably cold until the last 45 minutes. Teddy pic posted separately. Flickr being temperamental so unable to upload pix of cool new symbolic fencing. Will try again later.

No comments: