Tuesday, July 26, 2016

random observations

Friday June 22, 2016
Bird of the Day: Eastern kingbird
Coffee of the Day: Sumatra Mandeling
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: nothing really interesting this week
Invisi-bird Status:  Official numbers(as of 7/22): 17 pairs, 1 nest, 16 families with chicks, 39 unfledged chicks, 46 fledglings. Number actually seen by me: zero

Beach from the Lot 1 Boardwalk

Random observation 1: Eastern kingbirds don't seem to be hanging around the beach as much this year. I used to observe them perched on the mile markers and the signs. Today, a drive down the road all the way to the end revealed a ton of eastern kingbirds perched mainly on trees and shrubs, but also a few on fence posts. There seem to be as many of them as there usually are. They're just not hanging around the beach.

Least Tern
Random observation 2: Least terns are so conspicuous that people constantly ask "Are those the plovers?" I think I achieved a new record answering that question today simply while standing on the boardwalk looking for least tern chicks. I wasn't even on duty at that point, just watching terns with my binoculars. You have to be practically unconscious not to notice least terns on the beach, whereas you have to put a lot of effort into seeing piping plovers on the beach. On the other hand, piping plovers are mad cute. They have it all over least terns in the cuteness department.

Greenhead Trap -- Diagram of Greenhead Lifecycle
Random observation 3: The new greenhead signage and the see through (or see into -- I don't know the word for this) greenhead trap are both a big hit. Kids were very curious about it. There was a bee in it at one point and a little girl was very concerned and wanted to know "Why is there a bee in there?" I had to say I don't know, but it can get out and the greenheads can't. The bee did get out.

Greenhead Trap -- Transparent Side so You Can See Inside
Random observation 4: It's cooler on the beach than on the other side of the dunes, but it's still wicked hot. And humid.

Looking South
I know I promised a post on the Massachusetts Division of  Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) Habitat Conservation Plan for Piping Plover. I'm rereading it again and trying to summarize what the differences are from the current rules. My general opinion is that it's a good thing for the Cape Cod beaches -- improving relations with the off road vehicle users and the general public while still protecting the growing piping plover population. The population has grown enough in Massachusetts that a new plan was definitely due. Most of the stuff this plan deals with doesn't apply to federal land anyway, so doesn't affect our little (or not so little) patch of habitat. More later.

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