Friday, June 11, 2010

busy day on the beach

Coffee of the Day: Kenya AA
Bird of the Day: double crested cormorant
Weird Wrack Item of the Day: half a hot dog (eewww, the gulls wouldn't touch it and even the notorious bait-stealing grackle avoided it)
Coast Guard Assets Sighted: none
Refuge Biological Staff Sighted: one in the distance on the ATV
Invisi-Bird Status: Refuge: 8 pairs, 8 chicks; Sandy Point: 2 pairs, 3 chicks.

Waves Coming In, Sky Clearing

Everything is an adventure lately. At Plum Island Coffee Roasters, the barista tried to fill my travel cup with the lid still on. Oops. The guy ahead of me in line saw that I work on the refuge and asked "what time do the greenheads arrive". I wanted to say "10:00 AM" but managed to answer "July". A couple more greenhead questions and I was out the door. Water Street was blocked off with emergency vehicles: fire, police, ambulance. I detoured down a one way street only to find a truck coming at me the wrong way. I had to drive on the sidewalk. Turns out the police were sending Water St. traffic from the other direction the wrong way on the one way street. Too bad the street was too narrow to handle it. Yikes.

Now we come to the never ending saga of radios, as in none in the box. Also the box is open. Luckily Unit 2 is in front of the Gatehouse supervising the electrical contractors working on the new VCS/restroom building. He successfully locates a radio in the one of the Gatehouse closets. Good thing I had the radio because as soon as I got onto the beach I observed someone fishing in the closed area. Communicated same to HQ. Finally got the guy to move after discussing all sorts of creative excuses. Communicated that to HQ also.

A few northern gannets glided by over the waves, fairly low, almost like cormorants do. No big gannet show this week though. Fishwise: a lot of skates were coming in close to shore. Fishermen seemed to be snagging them instead of stripers. I did see one guy land a very small striper not even close to big enough to keep. Cormorants were all over the place but doing the clumsiest dives I've ever seen them do.

Three groups of middle school kids with teachers visited the beach. They seemed to understand about not disturbing the closed area where the nests are, which is good. However, several kids from the first group went up into the dunes, which are also off limits. I spoke to the teacher, who said she'd told them but they saw the garnet sand and just took off. By the time the third group arrived, I was waiting at the boardwalk and warned them to keep off the dunes before they even set foot on the beach. The kids were examining things in the wrack with magnifying glasses. I hope they didn't examine that half hot dog I saw. I'd hate to see what the magnifying glass would reveal.

Purple Martin House

Meanwhile, in parking lot #1, a house sparrow staged a home invasion in the purple martin house. The purple martins mobbed him and he left the front door but stayed nearby, perching on the roof. He was all puffed up and calling aggressively. So were the purple martins, except the one in apartment 4-1, who never budged during the whole melee.

Rosa rugosa is in bloom all over the place. This one is right next to the purple martin house.

No comments: