Thursday, July 2, 2015

catch-up post 2: June 20

Saturday June 20
AM Shift

Coffee of the Day: Tanzania Peaberry.
Bird of the Day: northern gannet
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a kid picking up trash in the wrack line
Invisi-bird Status: Official: Didn't see a report this week. Number actually seen by me: 1

Looking South
It's Let's Go Outside day. This is the event that used to be Go Fish! or Kid's Fishing Day.  The beach at Lot 1 was set aside for the event.  Some of the volunteer fishing instructors were already fishing in advance of the event and one guy reeled in a 20 pound 40 inch long striper before the event started. That was one cool fish.

Volunteers Setting Up for Let's Go Outside
It took awhile for the crowd of kids wanting to fish built up, but by late morning attendance seemed pretty good.

I  only saw one piping plover, who was feeding mainly at the water line. The least terns that had established themselves near the northern boundary a couple of weeks ago seemed to have moved further south. Not sure if I was wrong about there being a nest/nests or if something happened.

In other interesting bird news, today was the first time I've seen a northern gannet all season. A birder had mentioned to me last week that he hadn't seen any gannets and I told him I hadn't either. We speculated that the fish were all further off shore so the gannets were too far away to see. Anyway, I saw a gannet diving pretty far out near where some fishing boats were anchored. The fish must have come in closer since last week.
Volunteers Showing People How to Fish
I kept waiting for that 20 pound striper to reappear, but it didn't. I did see a kid land a small striper, to much cheering and many photo ops. I'm so glad those kids got to see at least one fish before I went off duty.
A Good Crowd
The best "Let's Go Outside Day" moment for me was not, however, the fish. I spotted a kid methodically walking the wrack line with a bucket and a reacher picking up trash. I told him I didn't know picking up trash was part of the event. He said that he didn't either but he'd seen a volunteer with a bucket and went over to ask if he could borrow it.  The kid had this idea all on his own!
Milkweed -- Save The Monarchs
A bumper crop of milkweed was blooming near the Gatehouse. This makes me feel heartened about the future of the monarch butterfly. Habitat loss is putting the monarch butterfly in jeopardy and milkweed is crucial to their survival. For more info on saving the monarch, you can check out the refuge's Saving Monarch Butterflies page.
Milkweed Blossoms about to Open

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