Monday, July 2, 2007

the shell seekers

Originally uploaded by Captain_Peleg
Observe the invisibird being invisible. I took this about 9:30 this morning before the beach filled up with visitors. It hung around for awhile and then took off calling peep-lo as soon as the first group of shell seekers arrived. Everybody's looking for shells today. They remind me of the fictional painting in that tear jerker of a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on the novel by Rosamunde Pilcher.

The shell seekers carried bags and buckets and walked along the shore looking down, hence failing to see the signs or me so I spent a lot of time shepherding them out of the closed area or intercepting them before they got there. Different people seemed to have different goals in their shell seeking, but sand dollars seemed to be the most popular. One woman said she'd never found one before and it made her day. A couple from Vermont, a family with a bunch of kids, a toddler who babbled delightedly in long totally incomprehensible sentences (at least I think they were sentences and they seemed to be addressed to me), and the usual lone walkers all seemed to be finding what they were looking for.

The bird action was pretty slow. A pair of the scruffiest white winged scoters I've ever seen floated for hours just off Emerson Rocks. A couple of Bonaparte's gulls flew by. Ring billed gulls and herring gulls mostly sat in the sand. Every once in awhile one of the herring gulls would attack one of the ringbills and drive it to a different spot on the beach. None of them appeared to have any prey to be arguing over. I think they just needed space. A mockingbird sang from the top of the 5.9 mile marker. A small flock of tree swallows caught flies in the wrack. All the usual beach stuff of a usual early July day unfolded.

The crew came to move the fencing and signs so they could reopen Lot 7. They dug up the big sign and the real fencing but left the rope and buoys for another team to move later. I packed up my stuff and walked back to the car to drive to Lot 7 even so I could free up a space in the Sandy Point lot by using the official plover warden parking spot. It's not that long a walk from where I was to the new boundary but moving the car saved me a long walk back at the end of the shift.

As soon as the Lot 7 beach opened, the shell seekers extended their foraging.

No comments: