Friday, July 4, 2008

meanwhile in the rain

I kept waiting for it to stop raining this morning in hopes of putting in a full plover warden shift but the rain kept up most of the morning. I went over to the Fish Tale Diner for breakfast -- veggie omelet and English muffin, yum -- and watched it rain. A pair of goldfinches landed in the Bridge Marina boatyard to check out a puddle. Do goldfinches eat at the Fish Tale too? A great black back sat on top of a light pole. A herring gull sat on the roof of Striper's Grille. A flock of mallards swam between boats in the Merrimack. It continued to rain.

On to Plum Island Coffee Roasters to fetch my dose of Ethiopian Yrgacheff (however you spell that), still waiting for the rain to stop. More mallards paddling around on this side of the river. Herring gulls too, but no goldfinches. I guess they don't drink micro-roasted coffee. Oh, and needless to say the drawbridge did not impede my path between The Fish Tale and PI Coffee Roasters today.

Finally, the rain changes to a light drizzle. I head out to the boardwalk at Lot 1 for a bit and regale two visitors with the life cycle of the piping plover. They ask good questions about mammalian predators. Three gull species roost on the beach all together: great black back, herring gull, ring-billed gull. A few cormorants roost among them too, doing their prehistoric ecclesiastical-looking wing-drying pose (imagine a dinosaur blessing the congregation
with arms outstretched). A Bonaparte's gull flies over the group but doesn't join them. Least terns make countless trips back and forth between the LETE colony and the water. They're too far away for me to identify what kind of fish they're catching to feed their loved ones. The few human fishermen are not catching anything.

Just as I am leaving, the sun comes out. That figures. Too bad I didn't plan on doing the midday shift today. I gotta go pick up Nancy at the bus station and with the 4th of July festivities in Boston and the visit of Dick Cheney to the USS Constitution, the trip could be long and arduous.

I stop at the VCS (Visitor Contact Station) to use the rest room and talk to the volunteer there, who is usually at the gatehouse. Unit 3 comes by to help with the VCS set-up. I chat with them until a genuine visitor arrives. The volunteer shows him around enthusiastically and he's taking it all in enthusiastically. I laugh and ask if he wants to know about piping plovers too. Turns out he does! I launch into my enthusiastic and animated description of how cool they are and how vulnerable they are and outline their lifecycle and why that means we need to close parts of the beach. He's lovin' it. While I'm talking to visitor, volunteer and Unit 3 vanish out back and I'm alone in the VCS. A birder (you can tell by the scope) asks if I can contact law enforcement because there' s a sailboat aground on the beach near Lot 5 (or was it 3, I'm forgetting already). Nope. I don't have the radio with me. Unit 3 is right here... no wait... you'd better go to the gatehouse and tell them to get law enforcement. When Unit 3 and VCS volunteer come back I tell them about it. Unit 3 calls Unit 61 and gets him on the case. And I really have to leave.

I did not see the report from yesterday's survey so I don't have updated chick numbers.

I don't know what happened with the sailboat, but I would imagine that the Coast Guard would be somewhat more useful in this situation than refuge law enforcement.

Now I really really really gotta go pick up Nancy.

No comments: