Saturday, May 26, 2007

no jacket required

Today is the first plover warden shift of the season in which I do not have to wear my winter jacket. Not only that, it's downright summer-hot and the parking lots on the refuge are full. Fishermen line the beach. Nobody seems to catch anything and they all leave at 9:30 for some reason.

In typical heat-befuddled fashion both Bob and I showed up at the north boundary. I don't think I've actually laid eyes on Bob in 2 years. We are always at opposite ends of the beach 6 1/2 miles apart. We hear each other on the radio all the time but never get to chat. So we had a mini-reunion catching up on cat shelter news as well as plover warden news then he agreed to head south.

It's hazy on top of being hot so birds offshore look like silhouettes. A huge flock of scoter shaped beings flies by and I can't see any distinguishing marks on them at all. I don't think I'll ever learn to tell the three scoters apart based on giss (pronounced jizz for some reason). They all have the same giss to me. That's how I can tell they're scoters. Anyway, other than the scoters and lines of cormorants the exciting birds of the day are common terns calling keer keer and diving all over the place. It's nice to see them back.

In piping plover news, 3 nests on the refuge and 1 at Sandy Point are still intact and being incubated after the latest storm (not the big one, the littler one that caused littler flooding). The rest of the plovers are sort of at loose ends, running around making scrapes. There's still time -- it's still only May (for a few more days anyway).

In longshore current news, the last reported whereabouts of the teddy bear was the general vicinity of Camp Seahaven (well, in New England naming fashion it's actually where Camp Seahaven used to be). Unit 3 promised to email me a picture of it at the 3.8 mile marker. At this rate it will be at Sandy Point by August.

In coffee news, today's Plum Island Coffee Roasters dark roast is Ethiopian Harar. I'm lovin' it.

In book news, I just finished (on the plane on the way back from visiting the world's cutest nieces in Texas) Soaring with Fidel by David Gessner. Darn I wish I could have become obsessed with a charismatic bird like the osprey instead of a wraith the color of dry sand. Seriously, Gessner takes his osprey obsession to new heights (or new distances) following their migration path to Cuba and South America. On the plane to Texas, I read The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement by Mark Hamilton Lytle, which I also enjoyed very much. It was recommended to me by Unit 3. Lytle did a book signing at the refuge headquarters during the Newburyport Literary Festival.

I am tired and if it's possible to have jet lag with only a 1 hour time difference I have that too. But the nieces are darn cute. As cute as plover chicks. Seriously. I wish they were not moving to Qatar for 3 years. I'd better check out flights and birding opportunities in Qatar...

And now back to your Memorial Day weekend already in progress...

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