Sunday, April 16, 2017

less windy, more dogs, one plover

Friday April 14, 2017
Bird of the Day: American kestrel (again)
Coffee of the Day: Tanzania Peaberry
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: plastic lobster
Invisi-bird Status: Official: "They're here." Number actually seen by me: 1

Blue Sky to the South
It was a beautiful day to be on the beach, so there were lots of visitors. It was less windy than last week and the wind was coming in off the water instead of from the southwest. The wind direction meant poor conditions for hawk-watching. There wasn't a whole lot of bird action on the beach or offshore. I did finally see one piping plover foraging in the wrack line. Conditions for foraging in the wrack line were extremely good as there has apparently just been a hatch of winged ants. Normally, the purple martins would get excited about the winged ants, but the only purple martins I saw were the decoys at the nesting gourds.
Blue Sky to the North
The radio was not working so I left it in the box and left phone messages for HQ and Gatehouse that I'd be using my phone if I needed to communicate. Fortunately, I really didn't need to communicate with them.
Interesting Arrangement of Debris
It was a big day for dog walking so I wore myself out walking back and forth along the waterline to intercept them at the refuge boundary rather than at the boundary of the closed area. Dogs are not allowed on the National Wildlife Refuge with the exception of seeing-eye/service dogs and duck retrieval dogs during hunting season. One guy tried to convince me that no dogs rule is no longer enforced at PRNWR. He said he was told that by a family member who lives on the island. I managed to convince him that is not true. Whatever the town of Newbury decides to enforce or not enforce on the town beach is something else.  The other dog owners were much more cooperative.

Another Interesting Arrangement of Debris
One visitor asked about volunteering to be a plover warden and wanted to know if we'd still need volunteers in July. I explained that July is the most crucial time to have good plover warden coverage because the chicks haven't fledged yet and are running around on the beach. I directed her to headquarters. I hope she volunteers.
Weird Plastic Lobster=Weird Wrack Item of the Week
My favorite bird of the day was an American kestrel perched on the 0.1 mile marker. With the general lack of raptor action I was surprised to see a kestrel at all. I loved that it perched on the marker, where I usually see red-winged blackbirds, eastern kingbirds, or the occasional common grackle. I should start keeping a list just of the species that perch on the mile marker.
Tiny Crab with Coffee Cup for Scale
There were lots of shells around, more so than last week. Mussels were the most common, but there was some variety. It was low tide, so lots and lots of wet sand was exposed. 
All in all, it was a pretty day. I worked really hard and I survived without the radio. On to next week, when I hope to see more piping plovers.

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