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

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blown Away

 ...a nature walk today, be sure to click/ supersize images....

Hi everyone. Hope your weekend has been cozy and warm. This week's storms missed the beach...but oh the wind! Sustained at 34MPH with much higher gusts. And the windchill! Three below zero tonight, the weather bug says.

I can ---and often do ---enjoy a walk on the beach when it's extremely cold. But sand and high winds just do not make conditions tolerable, so today we'll have to settle for a virtual beach walk!

Recent storms, high winds, and H. Sandy's aftermath have brought huge flocks of birds to my beach.

Hard to imagine but some shorebirds are already headed North for the summer's nesting. And apparently areas where they often stop, like Delaware and NJ,  have lost feeding grounds. So the hungry tired travellers have to forge on, and they find my big empty beach fliled with no doubt yummy somethings to eat.

The other day the beach was busy with birds. 

This is one of those bird mirages.

I see them far off in the distance and think they are outwash areas where gentle waves have uncovered shells, gravel, and hopefully seaglass treasure. Like this:

Sometimes though the  ''gravel'' keeps moving away. It is not shells, it's a flock of tiny shorebirds!

Some are the usual sanderlings....this is warm for them! They are fueling up for their April flight to nest in the Arctic Circle .

These larger birds are perhaps purple sandpipers.

No clue why they are "Purple"...the little guys are dark grey and white.

You can see their size, compared to the white sanderlings at the right, below. LOL, the flocks may hang out together but they do not mix!

 Then there were a few larger, rare for us, sandpipers.

I thought at first these were willets. I have a few pairs who nest here each summer, but they should not appear until June!

On studying my bird chart, I believe they are yellowlegs''? But...is the bill right? ...note the distinctive dark spot near their eyes...maybe they are knots?

I take pictures and pore over my  laminated charts:

 So useful...Mine are from the Brewster Bookstore on Cape Cod...but they are also available online, link at the end of post.

Speaking of Cape Cod...after the blizzard there last week, they found puffins on their beaches. I'd sure love to see a puffin someday...

but for now, a cup of tea and a Cape Cod video of these adorable little birds: here



gone to the beach

all photos by me, except Google Images of puffins
Mac's Field Guides :here and on Amazon, of course. Not just birds....