Sunday, March 14, 2010

footprints in the dunes, umm, make that footwear

During that window of sunny weather between flood warnings last week, I made it out to the refuge for a little birding, a little walking, and a little photography. At Lot 7 I watched a flock of about 15 common eiders and a lone horned grebe bobbing in the waves off Emerson Rocks for awhile. Along the boardwalk at Lot 6 I came face to face with a northern shrike perched on a bare branch. We're talking naked eye, my binoculars don't focus close enough, distance. It sat there calling, showing off its whole vocabulary for me: "kdldi", "plid-plid", "fay, fay", "reed, reed, reed", "shraaaa". Gee, I should take a picture. I turn on the camera. Shrike hears the camera noise and takes off deep into the thicket of shrubs. Dang.

I continued my walk up the boardwalk to the beach, noticing what sorts of junk had made it up from the beach over the foredune. A distinct pattern emerged. Footwear.

Closest to the road was a flip-flop, nicely decorated with shiny dangler things. Right foot. Looked like it had been there some time.

Then there was some kind of ventilated clog, evidently designed to let the water drain from it as the wearer walked on the beach. Right foot. Is a pattern emerging?

Closest to the top of the foredune was a more expensive, trendy kind of flip-flop. Left foot. So, I guess they're not all right ones after all.

Footwear plays a prominent part in the study of ocean currents (remember the great Pacific Nike spill of 1990? See the Wikipedia entry for Hansa Carrier for a summary of that one.) To my knowledge, no one has used footwear whereabouts in the study of dune migration. Hm, there's a science project for some local kid in that I'm sure.

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