Monday, May 20, 2013

cormorants, terns, and mystery tracks

Hey, I'm way behind in updating you all on such important stuff as piping plovers, progress on the Lot 1 boardwalk reconstruction, how windy it is on the beach, and what weird stuff is washing up on the beach. Lately when I'm not on the beach or at some sort of startup event or poetry slam, I'm gallivanting all over Massachusetts visiting places I want to add to New England At-Hand. So, forgive the lack of beachy updates and set the way back machine to Friday, May 10.

Coffee of the Day: Boatyard Blend
Bird of the Day: double-crested cormorant
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: rubber hose
Invisi-bird Status:  9 nests. Number actually seen by me: zero.

Fog to the South of Me
The day started out  foggy at Plum Island, but pleasantly warm and not windy for a change.  The fog was kind of picturesque. It reminded me a little bit of Nova Scotia.  Besides the ever present flock of longtailed ducks (shouldn't they be somewhere way north of here by now?) the first birds I spotted were 2 common terns, the first of the season. Now that the common terns are here, least terns should be arriving soon too.

Fog to the North of Me
The fog started to lift around the time  biological staff came by on the way to do his survey. He reported that we have 9 piping plover nests so far. There were some mystery tracks leading up the dune, right near the refuge boundary. They looked too big to be shorebird tracks of any kind that I'm familiar with.

Mystery Tracks
Biological staff checked out the mystery tracks and did not find any birds or nests over the top of the dune. I thought they looked like turkey tracks. We never did figure it out. Oddly enough, once the sun came out, the tracks were no longer visible.
A Few Double-crested Cormorants Moving North

There seemed to be a major movement of double-crested cormorants going on. It started with a few flocks of 50-100 each, then longer and longer lines of them in the thousands streamed by. The phenomenon went on for most of the 4 hours I was there.

A Way, Wicked Lot of Double-crested Cormorants Moving North
As the fog lifted, more visitors arrived, so I actually got to talk to interested people. The funniest thing was when some women from New Hampshire asked me if the Hooksett discs were still showing up on the beach.  It would have been funnier if they were actually from Hooksett, but still...
No Fog to the South of Me
By 11:00 AM or so, you never would have known the day had started out foggy.

No Fog to the North of Me

Besides Hooksett discs, there were a few bits and pieces of things that looked like plumbing supplies from the houses that fell in or something.  I've been finding small pieces of rubber hose that looks more like household stuff than stuff from a boat.

Rubber Hose
Work on the Lot 1 boardwalk is progressing. Lots of wood was delivered.

Boardwalk Rebuilding Supplies
The Lot 1 Boardwalk In Progress

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