Thursday, June 8, 2017


Friday June 2
Bird of the Day: least tern
Coffee of the Day: Clipper City Roast
Weird Wrack Item of the Week: an UnderArmour sandal
Invisi-bird Status: Official: haven't seen the report. Number actually seen by me: zero.

Looking South
The day was all about least terns. I lost count of how many there were because they were in constant motion, either flying or running or having sex with each other.  This was clearly a big day for least tern mating.
Least Tern
Some pairs were getting it on just above the water line on the wet sand and others were doing it in the wrack line behind piles of driftwood. The most interesting sight was a female running at top speed along the water line with the mail on top of her flapping his wings. He managed to stay on top for what may have been long enough. It was quite a feat of balance.
Besides watching the least terns have sex, I answered visitors' questions and intercepted a dog. Usually dogs get onto the refuge beach from the Newbury town beach, but this one came in over the Lot 1 boardwalk with a family. They let it off the leash but I managed to catch up with them and explain the rules before it got near the closed area. I asked how they got past the gatehouse with the dog in the car and they said she probably just didn't see it in the back seat. The people were completely unaware that dogs are not allowed on the refuge. They were also completely unaware that they were even on a national wildlife refuge. They insisted that the "no dogs" rule only applied to the closed area of beach. It took me several tries to convince them that dogs are not allowed anywhere on the refuge. Not the beach, not road, not the trails, not the clam flats. I managed to explain to them what a national wildlife refuge is and convince them that they would all be a lot happier on the town beach.  That was the only weird visitor encounter of the day.
Wonder Where the Other Sandal Is
The tide was going out and the beach got steeper and steeper until I felt like I was climbing a mountain walking back up from the water. It was so steep that it was actually hard to see people walking along the water line unless I was just below the crest of the sand berm. When my relief showed up, the first thing he asked was "what happened to the beach?" It's a different beach every day, every tide, and some days the difference is more dramatic than others.
Least Tern with Pine Cone
I kept hoping a plover or two would show up, but no such luck. The show was all least terns all the time.
Least Terns
For once the sky was blue with no rain in sight. The wind was out of the northeast but not nearly at the speed of last week's northeast wind. I still had trouble keeping my hat on.

Blue Sky over the Dunes

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