Thursday, July 12, 2012

hot day with piping plovers

Coffee of the Day: French Roast Colombian
Bird of the Day: piping plover
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: brown tiger beetle -- actually, it was on my neck, not in the wrack, when I spotted it.
Invisi-bird Status:  As of July 3: Refuge beach: 23 pairs, 16 nests with eggs, 4 pairs have fledged 7 chicks. Sandy Point: 4 pairs, 2 nests with eggs, 1 pair with 4 chicks. Newbury town beach: 1 pair with 4 eggs. Number actually seen by me: 3.

boat in the sky
Saturday's shift was hot, humid, and hazy.  The greenheads were out in force but were leaving me alone, thank goodness. What breeze there was came from the land side, not a sea breeze. With the haze offshore, it was sometimes hard to distinguish between the sky and the water. I got used to seeing boats hovering in the sky over the horizon. It rained a little bit off and on too, but not enough to drive anybody off the beach.

Lots of visitors were asking good questions about piping plovers and wanting to know if they could see them. A total of 3 adult piping plovers graciously made themselves visible over the course of the morning.  A beach-goer/birder had a scope, which made it lots easier to show off the invisi-birds. But, heck with my invisi-bird spotting superpowers, I could see them with the naked eye. See if you can find the invisi-bird in the photo below.
One visitor came over specifically to tell me that Go Fish day had gotten him hooked on fishing and he wanted me to let "the guy with the mustache" know. I'm not sure which of the guys he meant, but I will pass the word along to the refuge staff. Anyway, this guy is so excited by fishing that he sold his golf clubs to buy fishing gear.

In addition to the normal sort of double wrack line composed of seaweed, grass and marine debris, today there was a line of mostly winged ants. A lot of them appeared to be dead, but some were still alive. I think this is what enticed the invisi-birds to show themselves, because they spent a lot of time along the "ant line".

At one point I felt something on my neck and was sure I was about to get my first greenhead bite of the season, but when I flicked it away I saw that it was a beetle. It landed in the sand at my feet and I tried to get a picture of it even as it was digging itself into the sand. While I was watching the beetle, an amphipod emerged from its hole in the sand, crawled a few inches, and buried itself again. Got the beetle photo. Didn't get the amphipod.


In other news, as I was leaving I met 61, who told me he caught the bonfire people! 15 teenagers. Excellent law enforcement detective work.

Then it was off to Newburyport for felafel, coffee, and books.

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