Friday, March 27, 2009


Check out these microscopic photos of sand. There's a beautiful one of the garnet and magnetite sand at Plum Island. Those are the purple and black sands that often form wonderful abstract patterns on the southern end of the beach. Seeing a photo of individual grains of sand adds even more depth and dimension to its beauty.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

upcoming refuge activities

Check out these upcoming great programs at Parker River National Wildlife refuge. Explore the wonders of woodcocks, the busy world of honey bees, or the dynamism of barrier beach ecology. April is a lively month at the refuge. Oh, and if you've never visited the visitor center, check it out. It has the coolest piping plover video -- I watch it over and over again when I need a hit of extreme cuteness to keep me motivated.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, check out "At the Water's Edge," Barry Van Dusen's paintings across the road at Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center. It's there through April 5. I visited it a couple of weeks ago and much enjoyed his depiction of shorebirds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

state of the birds address coming up

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will present the first ever US state of the birds address tomorrow afternoon. This brings together info from USFWS, U.S. Geological Survey, state government wildlife agencies, and even non-governmental organizations like Audubon and ABC etc.

I hope he mentions what an awesome job people in Massachusetts have done with bringing back the piping plover.

Friday, March 13, 2009

plover wardens needed

It's almost plover season and the refuge is looking for plover wardens. Want to find out what it's all about? You can attend the Volunteer Plover Warden orientation program on Sunday, March 15 from 10:00 AM to noon at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, 6 Plum Island Turnpike. That's across the street from Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats sanctuary and next door to the airport. The notice made it into at least one local paper today.

The orientation is fun: Unit 3 has a great sense of humor. Biological staff (usually Unit 11) gives a good presentation on the piping plover's life cycle. And, the best part of all, Law Enforcement staff shows you how to use the radio -- the all important radio, useful as communication device, symbol of authority, and weapon substitute.

Don't like the idea of talking to people about plovers but want to volunteer at the refuge? You can also volunteer to plant pitch pines on Saturday, April 18. Contact if you're interested in the pitch pine planting.

The Plover's Nest gift shop operated by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge needs volunteers too. You can help the refuge without getting sunburned!