Friday, April 26, 2013

windy again

Today's shift

Coffee of the Day: Boatyard Brew
Bird of the Day: double-crested cormorant
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: part of a drip coffee maker
Invisi-bird Status: Refuge beach: 13 pairs, Sandy Point: 2 pairs, Town beach: 0. Number actually seen by me: zero.

Blue skies, big waves, and plenty of wind just about sums it up.  Oh, and a few migrating raptors too.  Once again I saw no shorebirds and very few gulls. A couple of kestrels hovered over the dunes near the Lot 1 boardwalk. A peregrine falcon flew from the dunes out over the beach and headed north along the water line.  The most surprising bird was a sharp-shinned hawk flying low over the beach below the level of the dunes. Actually, I've seen sharpies do that before during spring migration -- staying low while all the other species are up higher.
Where the Lot 1 Boardwalk Used to Be
I was just thinking it odd that I hadn't seen any swallows at all yet, when a handful of tree swallows appeared.  Not a lot, though. By far the most noticeable bird of the day was the double-crested cormorant. They kept streaming by in long lines of anywhere from 10 to 100 birds. Almost none of them landed on the water.  They just kept on flying north.
Part of a Coffee Maker
There wasn't as much trash in the wrack this week, but I'm still seeing housewares. Today's weird item looked like part of a coffee maker.

There were few visitors, but a couple of them were challenging. One insisted that she should be allowed to walk along the water line in the closed area because the birds clearly don't nest at the water line because "that's crazy".  I tried to explain the beach closure and the piping plover's nesting and feeding habits, but she was having none of it. Everything I said got the "crazy" response. At some points I wasn't sure whether crazy referred to the plovers, the beach closure, or me. I remained professional and she left.  The other one was just puzzling. She walked onto the closed area from Lot 1 on the access road (remember, the boardwalk is broken). To do that she had to have squeezed between the gate and the sign clearly indicating there is no public access there. When I said the beach is closed for nesting, she asked "What is nesting?" Anyway, I gave the standard piping plover life cycle speech. She was very nice about it and left. I'm still trying to figure out how she could have missed the signs.

Big Waves
The tide was coming in the whole time I was there and the waves kept getting bigger.  I had to keep moving back toward the dunes every few minutes.  By the time I left, the tide was up to the first  of the three signs that mark the boundary.

Beach Signs

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