Friday, August 3, 2007

Saturday July 28 -- Stairs and the Usual Suspects

Life's a Beach
Originally uploaded by Captain_Peleg
There are stairs from the boardwalk at lot 1 down to the beach. Wait a sec... there are stairs? Wonder how long they've been here.There haven't been stairs since the great flood of '07 (they did get replaced after the great flood of '06 only to return to the sea during the great flood of '07). This makes it a much easier walk to the beach.

Bird and visitor action is slow for most of the morning. A huge mixed flock of the usual gull suspects -- herring, great black back, and ringbilled -- is resting on the sand en masse a little to south. I hear the peep-lo call announcing the arrival of one of my invisible charges. It hangs around for about an hour, foraging in the thin line of wrack left by the incoming tide. It works north to south methodically, turning back north when it gets to close to the roosting gulls. The gulls stare at it but don't move. It just walks away instead of invoking the cloak of invisibility (or the less common but fascinating wicked aggressive act). Later on a couple of gulls move away from the flock and hang out closer to the plover's feeding area. It pretty much ignores the gulls as long as they ignore it.

A few people who were fishing when I arrived have left.

Part of the north end of the refuge beach and part of the town beach are roped off for a skydiving event. There's nary a plane in sight and there are plenty of thunderheads looming in the distance in all directions. One of the striper fishing regulars sets up near me and I ask him about the skydivers. He says he doesn't think they're going to do it today. He's pretty sure of it because they're all sitting on the beach under the tent and not in airplanes.

As I'm staring out at the sport fishing boats through the haze, a line of four large brownish shorebirds with decurved bills flies by. Whimbrels! I get the binocs on 'em and watch until they vanish in the distance to the south. The shorebird migration is underway.

The piping plover took off for some other area of beach, the striper fishing guy didn't catch anything, and the skydivers never dove. On the way home thunder and lightning crashed, the heavens opened up, and 495 flooded. Guess those skydivers knew the weather was coming.

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