I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Solitary Beach Walk---and Nesting Shorebirds

Hi! Come take a beach walk with me! The fresh air will do you a world of good and the chilly ocean breeze will blow all your troubles far out to sea!
just now, Sunday

I checked my Map My Walk iphone app and I walked almost 2 miles at the flea market! It was good and I have lots of treasures to show you once I get them photographed this week.
Back home I went to the beach to check on ''my'' nesting birds. It is cold at the beach so I didn't put much more activity on my  walking tracker.

Yes my beach is this empty, even on a beautiful spring Sunday. Just me (and you guys) and the birds.

Here's a flock of tiny white birds, you can see them against the dark blue of the water.

Great tracts of this beach are fenced off for the nesting shore birds. There's an oystercatcher way back by the dunes, on the right. They are testing spaces right now, but they always nest within a few feet of previous years' nests. The OCs begin laying their eggs around May 7th. *

The oystercatchers' numbers are way down, perhaps 2/3s of last year. And while I am finding plover nest sites, I have only seen one poor lonely and very busy little guy! Usually we have as many as 16 nests along the entire stretch of beach.
The wildlife guys mark the nesting sites with large white clamshells, see below.

Later when the plover pair choose their final site there will be a wire cage installed to protect these tiny endangered birds from humans and predators . [The birds can get out of the mesh openings but not much can get in, except too high storm tides.]
Piping plovers usually begin laying eggs around April 30th.* Yes they are that specific!*
Here the game guys have set out a flag and a stake, plus their clam shells. I didn't see a nest hollow, perhaps it is an oystercatcher site.


Here are piping plover tracks. I wonder what the odd busy track area is? A mating dance ensued? Almost looks like a turtle was here but there's only bird tracks to and from.


Here is a very well made plover nest. This is as good as it gets if you're a plover mama. No soft grasses or strings, or cozy old plastic bags for her, just sand!

And another...

There are other wildflife signs to mull over. Tiny tracks, below,  probably seaside sparrows or pipits? But they may be our marsh toads which emerge from the dry swales and like to shelter under the wooden walkway.

Rabbit tracks. Beach bunnies!

Feral cats or a raccoon? I see tracks here almost daily but never have seen a creature.


By late May it should be warm enough for me to venture out after dark, flashlight in hand. To discover who these tracks belong to!
Have a great week.
gone  to the beach.....