|Beach -- Looking South|
Bird of the Day: piping plover
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a star-shaped balloon inscribed "I wish I was a wiszard" (sic) in a child's hand writing
Coast Guard Assets: None, but the general aviation craft more than made up for lack of awesome Jayhawk helicopters.
Invisi-bird Status: Rumors of some laying eggs already. Number actually seen by me: 3!
High tide, not much of a crowd despite school vacation week, a gentle breeze, and a few lingering long-tailed ducks set the mood for Friday morning on the beach. Plus I was treated to my own private air show -- actually several different air shows. While I was checking out the long-tailed ducks, I heard an airplane engine. I looked up to see a propeller plane doing aerobatics! The pilot was putting it thru its paces with barrel rolls, loops, slow rolls, and other maneuvers I don't remember the names for. There were only 3 other people besides me on the beach and one of them was asleep. It really did feel like a private show. At certain points in a loop, the sunlight highlighted the red on the wings and fuselage - really pretty aeroplane.
There were few birds besides the long-tailed ducks out beyond the surf, two northern gannets in the air, and two herring gulls on the beach, so my attention stayed on the aerobatic aeroplane until I heard a faint "peep-lo" call. I whipped the binoculars off of the air show in the direction of the call just in time to see two piping plovers cruise in over the water onto the beach. A third one flew in, they did a few aerobatic maneuvers of their own, and took off, peep-loing all the way, over the dune at the 0.1 mile marker. My first invisi-birds of the season!
Herring gulls and ring-billed gulls were starting to gather into a sizable roost on the beach just south of the boundary. Northern gannets and double crested cormorants started gaining in numbers too. There were even two more general aviation craft - nice day for flying. The plovers didn't come back my way, and the aerobatic aeroplane returned to the aerodrome, but the northern gannets took over the aerial entertainment. A couple dozen of them, gleaming white with perfect black wingtips, put on a spectacle of plunge diving. There must have been a heckuva lot of fish out there because more and more birds kept joining them.
Even the ring-billed gulls put on a show, first in the air with their drop-and-catch thing using pieces of straw or seaweed, then on the beach with a bobber. That show, I did manage to get some photos of.
|An Ordinary Fishing Bobber|
|Look what I found!|
|We're not paying any attention to this, or are we?|
|Maybe we can play soccer with it?|
|It's all mine!|
The fun didn't stop when I left the beach either. As I drove along the Plum Island Turnpike I saw a turkey vulture circling overhead. Then I spotted two more turkey vultures --perched on the roof of the empty pink house next to the aerodrome! They looked ridiculously large and out of place. Birders and non-birders alike were pulling off the road to look at them. Had it been a Saturday instead of Friday, there would have been a major traffic jam.
|Vultures on the Pink House|
All these exciting sights, and I still had time to get lunch at Revitalive, buy a copy of Fenway 1912 at Jabberwocky, and start reading it over a second cup of coffee at PICR before heading home to watch the 100th anniversary festivities and less than satisfying Red Sox vs. Yankees game.