Friday, July 4, 2014


Coffee of the Day: Ethiopian Harrar
Bird of the Day: piping plover
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a plastic funnel that has been here since May (just moved further south and further up on beach)
Invisi-bird Status: Refuge beach: 25 pairs, 15 nests, 19 chicks; Sandy Point: 4 pairs, 1 nest, 6 chicks; Town beach: 2 pairs, 1 nest, 4 chicks. Number actually seen by me: 3 - 1 adult + 2 chicks.

Looking South at Pre-Arthur Clouds
After last night's thunderstorms and in anticipation of Hurricane Arthur, I was convinced my shift would be rained out yet again. However, it was not raining when I got up. In fact there were patches of clear sky over my house.  The Pre-Arthur clouds over the beach did look threatening, but it was indeed not raining on the beach when I got there.
Anybody Here?
Before I even set up my chair, I heard the distinctive peep-lo call and spotted an adult piping plover. It proceeded to run up to the wrack line and hunker down in a depression in the sand. As I played hide and seek with the adult, two chicks ran around catching flies and becoming invisible then reappearing. The adult did the distraction display to divert the attention of a menacing great black back and the chicks scampered away to hide.

Look! An Invisi-bird
The least terns were playing the invisi-bird game too. I watched as two of them landed on the beach just above the wrack line and flattened themselves against the sand. They were indistinguishable from the bits of shells and seaweed.  It was the kind of day when most of the birds gather on the sand and rest. A couple of the least terns flew and dove into the surf, but quickly joined their fellows on the sand. A pair of common terns hunkered down at a safe distance from the great black backs. One herring gull went after the bait fish on a fisherman's line unsuccessfully. Two sanderlings landed near the piping plovers and least terns. Isn't it kind of early for sanderlings? Anyway, the adult piping plover chased them off.

I assumed the piping plover chicks had not yet fledged even though they looked pretty close to ready because they repeatedly ran and hid when threatened and because they seemed to be relying on the adult for good hiding places. As I was musing about this, one of them took off and flew a few feet down the beach. The second one followed after about a minute. Did I witness their first flight? It was pretty cool.

It's Raining!
Big Steve came out onto the beach to extend his trademark stick fence. While I was telling him about what I had just seen the fledglings do, it started to rain a tiny bit. As I debated whether to pack up, the rain intensified. As soon as I packed up and got up onto the boardwalk, the rain turned back drizzle, then back to rain, then to nothing (briefly). Somebody in the parking lot told me everybody was coming back because the rain was over. By the time I got from the parking lot to the gatehouse, you guessed it, it was raining again. And so on and so forth all the way home.

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