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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tiny Survivors

a/n my camera binoculars are broken...so my bird pix are not as nice as my usual. click on pix to enkarge & zoom, pls.
As I write this post a bank of fog is rolling in from the east, grey lace over shiny pink satin sunset sky. More rain and full moon high tides are due to come tonight and tomorrow.

Yesterday my beach hike was delayed by threatened thunderstorms....and when I went out, after the alerts were lifted, it was about three hours before high tide. But the waves were already washing away my beach and surging up onto the dunes. Five minutes after this photo, the water was so high I had to walk to the far right, where the green beach grasses are, inside the birds' fencing. And I still got wet.....
Normally the water is hundreds of feet to the left!

I was so worried about my little piping plover! She sits there bravely in her protective fencing, face turned into the wind. How frightening it must be during the long dark stormy night, the foam and waves coming closer and closer!

I worried all night! And as soon as the tides receded this morning , I hurried down to see her. She was still on her nest. It looked like water had encroached her nesting spot [you can see the darker grey sand, where it was wet] but maybe she was able to stay and keep the eggs in place.
nesting plover is centered in photo,
just above the first green sprout of grass.
She matches her surroundings so perfectly

I found no washed away tiny eggs on the beach.(That has happened, sad to say.)Yesterday the storm was blowing off the water, forcing the waves extra high; today the wind's shift to the east means the wind is at right angles to the water and so...despite a flood tide even as I watch now, she may be safe. [edit: day 3 of storm...she is still safe & sitting on hr nest! Yay!].


Other arrivals....the pair of willets has come back to the outer dune hollow.

 It has very little water to attract them or the mallard pair and blackbirds that often nest here when the vernal pond is full. I hope the willets stay....

This little lady is perched on the wide flat sand of the open beach just to my west. She is the black spot just above the orange fencing flag.
nesting oystercatcher
She is, as always, alert and so proud!

Her mate keeps guard, as does the little plover's mate at the other end of the dune.

gaurdian male Oystercatcher
center of photo
above red fence flag

The first terns appeared last week...mean and cranky as ever. A mixed flock of arctic and least terns arrive at sunset, below....

They were followed quickly by the black skimmers at also dusk.


The skimmers arrive in pairs but quickly congregate in huge groups, all facing precisely the same way. Always. By midsummer there will be a colony of thousands of both terns and skimmers (separate) and that section of beach will be impassable due to the attacking terns (not my fave! and they poop on humans too!  On purpose! eeew)...

And here's a mermaid's purse...an egg case from a dog shark or skate.

Other birds, too fast or too shy to photograph: a snow bunting in brown stripey plumage; a pippet who lives in my upper dunes;

Find the Pippit! He is exactly in the center of this photo...
...Egrets along the secluded highways of the seashore beach to my east---6 feet tall, white and ghostly in the rain....Crazed black and pink swallows, tiny divebombers! Will they nest in the dunes too?
And tonight, as they have done for millions of years, the horseshoe crabs will slowly plod onto shore to lay their eggs. Again.



blue sky and clouds reflected in wave-washed and

gone to the beach.....