Monday, May 20, 2013

lovely day with piping plovers

Friday May 17 AM shift

My favorite coffee, perfect weather, and first sighting of the invisi-birds on Friday must mean the forces of the universe are aligned in perfection. 

Coffee of the Day: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Bird of the Day: piping plover
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a New York driver's license
Invisi-bird Status: 15 nests -- 13 on the refuge and 2 at Sandy Point. Number actually seen by me: 3!!!!!!

What a Gorgeous Day!
After most of the weather we've been having lately, I was expecting wind and fog. There wasn't any. The weather was stunning.
Where Plovers Dine
Biological staff came by with a ride-along guest. He asked if I'd seen any piping plovers feeding on the flats as the tide was going out. Once again, I said I hadn't seen any shorebirds of any kind. I know there are piping plovers and all manner of other shorebirds out there, but they have not been hanging around the north part of the beach.

See Them? Those Three Dots Along the Waterline? Yup!
Not long after biological staff and guest headed south, I saw a piping plover flying toward
me. It landed on the beach, right at the water line. Pretty soon another one joined it. The two of them were feeding like crazy -- doing that foot trembling thing that's actually called "plovering" because plovers do it (weird because some gulls do it too). They hung out there for quite some time. Every once in awhile, they would hunker down next to a long strand of kelp that had washed up. This was all too far away for me to see what they might have been doing with the kelp. I don't know what kind of insects or whatever a single strand of kelp might harbor. A third piping plover joined them foraging on the flats for awhile, but then it flew up the beach to the highest line of wrack near where the stairs from the Lot 1 boardwalk used to be. I lost track of it amongst the wrack, and resumed watching the other two. I even got to point them out to a visitor, who was happy to know they're really here.

Hard at Work on the Boardwalk
Speaking of the Lot 1 boardwalk, I could hear the saws and hammers and see definite progress. There's still a lot to do, because they'll need to build out a platform on either side at the end, and, of course, stairs.

Where Newbury Residents Party
Between visitors I walked around on the town beach to stretch my legs. I found another party site.  Newbury must be beach party central this spring. By far the strangest thing I found was a New York State driver license. The strangest thing about it was that it wasn't really damaged much. It really didn't look like it had spent much time in the ocean or in the Merrimack River. Maybe somebody dropped it while walking or partying on the beach.

Driver License in the Wrack
Just before I left for the day, I got word that the refuge road had reopened all the way down to Sandy Point. The construction work got done way early thanks to the dry weather.  What a day! Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, piping plovers, good weather, and the road construction is finished! Now if somebody could just wave a magic wand over the Lot 1 boardwalk...

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