Wednesday, May 31, 2017

northeast wind

Friday May 26
Bird of the Day:Bonaparte's gull
Coffee of the Day: I forget
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: umm, there's a wrack line in the Black Cow parking lot, that's weird enough
Invisi-bird Status: Official: haven't seen the report yet. Number actually seen by me: zero.

Following the "if it's not raining at my house, my shift is not rained out" rule, I headed off to Plum Island. I stopped at PICR to get some coffee and noticed that the exceptionally high tide and the storm winds had clearly caused the Merrimack to overflow its banks. One does not normally expect to see a wrack line in the parking lot at the Black Cow or in the boat yard behind PICR.
Least Tern in the Wrack Line
By the time I got to the gatehouse, it felt like it was fixing to rain again. Hmm. Gatehouse said South was already out there and it wasn't really raining yet, so I went for it, betting that there would not be many (if any) visitors so it would be just me and the birds. That's pretty much how it worked out. I spoke to exactly one visitor.

The wind was blowing hard and cold from the northeast. Mostly I watched least terns try to fly into the wind. They are not as good at it as ring-billed gulls, but better at it than many of the gull/tern types of birds.
Looking South
The wrack line probably should've been called the foam line. Big blobs of sea foam covered a lot of the seaweed and other wrack. Flying globs of foam bounced around on the beach.  The wind blew my hat off several times, so I packed it away and let the wind tangle my hair so I looked like some kind of ex-hippie Medusa.
Least Tern Air Defense Command on the Beach
By the time I finished drinking my coffee, the rain came back in earnest.  There was nobody on the beach but me and the least terns. Not even a single piping plover from the northernmost pair. I figure they were hunkering down in the wrack line.
Looking North
I hung around on the Lot 1 platform for awhile hoping the rain would stop again.  Two Bonaparte's gulls flew past me and out over the beach, tacking the way ring-billed gulls do. Must research which gull species do that and which don't and why. Someday when I have nothing else to do.

Shovel Handle -- New Dimensions in Plastic Beach Trash
The rain and the cold wind finally drove me off. I headed over to Salisbury for a second breakfast and more coffee at Pat's Diner, where I talked up the tall ships to customers visiting from out of town.  Sufficiently refueled, I headed back into downtown Newburyport and took a walk in the rain along the waterfront to check out the tall ships Alabama and Adventure in town for Maritime Days. I kind of liked taking photos of the ships  in the rain.

Newburyport Harbor in the Rain
Several school groups were touring the ships. The kids from Amesbury were outfitted in plastic rain ponchos donated by a bank. I didn't manage to catch a good photo of the kids with their ponchos billowing in the rain, but it was fun to see. A couple of kids coming off the Alabama were saying that they were disappointed at not having been thrown overboard. I guess a nice cold swim in the Merrimack was looking good to them.
Tall Ship Adventure

By the time I got done with gawking at the tall ships, my fingers were numb and my hair resembled one of those tangled rafts of vegetation that transported life forms from mainland to island in all the books I've read about evolution.  Clearly time to go home, take a shower, put on dry clothes and take it easy.
Tall Ship Alabama

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