Sunday, May 22, 2016

pretty day

Friday May 20, 2016
Bird of the Day: piping plover on the nest
Coffee of the Day: Sumatra Mandeling
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: yellow plastic doo-hickey with cryptic text on it
Invisi-bird Status:  Refuge: 36 pairs, 19 nests. Sandy Point: 10 pairs, 2 nests. Number actually seen by me: 2 one on the nest and one in flight.
On the Nest!
Today's big news is a piping plover nest close to the boundary of the closed area. So close, that bio staff  saw a need to close a tiny bit more of the beach to give the nesting pair (and the chicks when they hatch) some more room. There are three eggs in the nest, so there's room for one more. Piping plovers lay up to four eggs and take turns incubating. I didn't see the parents switch off, but did see whichever one was currently on the nest get up and catch a few bugs in the wrack line.
Warm and Hazy Beach Day
Bio staff returned with some posts, signs, and rope to erect a rope fence slightly north of where the big No Entry signs are. I repositioned myself to line up with the new fence, and had a pretty easy shift. Everybody I talked to was genuinely interested in the plovers. One woman visiting from Oregon, even asked me questions about the different kinds of seaweed in the wrack line. She was keen to know all about the piping plovers, what they eat, what kind of creatures live in the wrack line, and what kind of creatures live in the intertidal zone. She was totally my favorite visitor today.
The Isles of Shoals Looming in the Haze
The weather is finally summerish too! It's warm and hazy. The haze makes for loomings, and sure enough besides the usual fishing boats sailing in midair above the horizon the Isles of Shoals put in an appearance. I've tried to photograph this phenomenon before with not much success, but today I got at least one shot that gives a feel for it. Those dark lines are not clouds, they are islands.
School Group Studying the Wrack Line
There was a group of kids from the charter school learning about the beach especially the wrack line and the piping plovers. One of the volunteer teachers had a big box that she was calling her "wrack line". It had items you would find in the wrack line, including a plastic bottle -- it's never too soon to teach kids about marine debris. Speaking of trash in the wrack line, I found a strange yellow plastic thing that looked like it was part of some larger structure. It had cryptic text on it, like maybe a part number or something. It really stuck out among the grasses and the seaweed.
Weird Wrack Item of the Week
There were a few fishermen on the beach for most of the morning. The two guys nearest me were catching schoolies and taking selfies with them. I can see taking a selfie with a full grown striper, but these schoolies were pretty small. Then one guy got a flounder that was a keeper.  Both guys were very excited about the flounder and were planning out how they were going to cook it
School Group and Fisherman
The birding was pretty quiet, with nothing unusual. The long-tailed ducks are still around but in smaller numbers.  The number of common terns has increased quite a bit and there were several least terns among them this week. I welcome the return of what I call the "Least Tern Air Defense Command" because their aggressive protection of their nests helps protects the plover nests too.
Oh Wrack Line, You're My Home
On my walk back to my car at Lot 1, I spotted my first butterflies of the season:  a couple of American coppers and some cabbage whites. It really does finally feel like May.

As an extra added treat I took my lunch break at the airport, munching on a black bean and sweet potato burrito from Metzy's taco truck and watching a meetup of the Plum Island Airport RC Club doing all kinds of aerobatics with their cool RC planes.

Yeah, I definitely believe it's May now.

No comments: