Thursday, May 19, 2016

dog drama

Friday May 13,2016
Bird of the Day: Whatever all those birders with huge scopes were looking at in the Merrimack River off Water Street by the clam shack. (Updated to add that they were looking for 3 Hudsonian godwits that had been seen there the previous day.)
Coffee of the Day: Sumatra Mandeling
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: a shrine to marine debris
Invisi-bird Status: no official report, so official count is still 25 pairs. Number actually seen by me: 4.

Finally some mild weather -- at least until shortly before the end of my shift, when the wind changed. It was nice not to be constantly windblown. May is going to start acting like May any day now :-)

Oh, Wrack Line, You're My Home
There was plenty of fly and amphipod action in the wrack line, so the northernmost piping plover gang were chowing down where I could see them pretty well.  A few purple martins and tree swallows were taking advantage of the temporary increase in the fly population too, but not nearly as many as I would have expected. The long-tailed ducks are still around but should be gone soon. A few more common terns have appeared. I haven't seen any least terns yet. The place to be for birders, though, was everywhere but the beach. It's warbler time all along the S-curves and in the pines. It's still raptor migration time over lot 1 and the dunes. May is for the birds.
Sand, Sea, Sky
There weren't many visitors despite the mild weather. I thought I'd have an easy day. Hah!

I spotted a guy with a dog on the town beach heading for the refuge boundary. I started walking toward them, so did a couple of visitors I had just spoken with -- we all wanted to intercept the dog. People kept calling the dog, throwing things for it to chase, and in general trying to get it to pay attention. A couple of times, the dog and his human reversed direction and went back onto the town beach.  Once again the dog with his human in pursuit crossed onto the refuge beach. I dashed over to them, spoke to the human, tried to get the dog to come to me and so on...
A Shrine to Marine Debris - Weird Wrack Item of the Week
Next thing I knew the dog was well into the closed area with the human in pursuit. I radioed Gatehouse to get me some law enforcement help. Unit 62 responded that he was 10 minutes away.  The dog chased off the 4 piping plovers that were feeding in the wrack line and then took off after a killdeer.  The killdeer booked it to the other side of the dunes. I didn't see where the plovers hid, but they definitely gave up on the bug-eating fiesta in the wrack line for the rest of the morning.
The dog stopped to take a shit in the wrack line so I was sure the human would catch up with it. Hah! The dog took off again. To the human's credit, he bagged the poop. He also told me he was sorry. I noticed he did have a leash in his hand, so he clearly once had control of the dog. A few tosses of a ball lured the dog out of the closed area.  Eventually, many ball tosses later, the human caught the dog and snapped the leash on.
A Whole Mess of Mussels
Unit 62 arrived just as the human and his dog (now leashed) were leaving the town beach.  Neither of us were sure when Newbury's ban on dogs on the beach starts. 62 said he'd check with the Newbury police. I told him the guy said he was sorry and was polite, so it wasn't the major drama it could have been. Just a minor dog drama.

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that if you can't control your dog when it's off the leash, don't let it off the leash.

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