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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nature Walk - Dunes and Marshes


Hi! What a beautiful day it is today! The sky is pristine blue but it's windy and there's just a hint of autumn mist lying low in the hollows. Big waves! Perhaps the oddly balmy air and high surf are from  Hurricane Gonzalo even though that storm is thousands of miles away.

The air is filled with flocks of little black birds, perhaps blackbirds and starlings. For some reason they keep flying east, which is, uh, wrong, as that would eventually send them north.
One day this week all the neighborhood shrubbery was busy with yellow rumped warblers as they too head south. They're just little nervous brown birds, but distinctive because they have the single bright chartreuse spot on their backs above their tails.

The oystercatchers are still here. The peeps---piping plovers and sanderlings have disappeared, though I expect the sanderlings will reappear.
This is the roosting area of a plover flock. They dig tiny hollows as if to mark their nests for next spring:

(The large footprints are maybe OCs'.)
 No egrets in the marshes. Though they have acquired a new fancy sign!

But one night, as Mo and I took a late walk, I looked up and saw a V of big white birds, bright against the black sky. Swans or snow geese. They often migrate at night. I love seeing them on their silent journey.
Other sightings...a hawk over the marsh.

And these funny crows who come to the beach each fall.

The dunes are lush. They roll on forever, it seems. I only walk the margins now. The dunes are still fragile and rebuilding.



Now that the bird fencing is gone, I can discover intersting treasure, like this driftwood. (My beach doesn't get much driftwood, so I notice it.)
Goldenrod and beach roses are still in full bloom.


I find tiny weird dune mushrooms that appear in the sand after a rain.



By the boardwalk, little footprints, maybe a seaside sparrow, looking for dunes grass seeds. Or  perhaps a toad? The spadefoot toads roost under the boardwalk.

We had the oddest toads sighting one evening a few weeks ago. Teeny tiny toads! Everywhere! Lots of them, no bigger than your little fingernail. 3/8"?
At first I thought they were spiders. It seems local toads evolve from tadpoles to this tiny version, though I've never seen them before. And so strange that they'd hatch and---metamorphose?---in the fall instead of the spring.
Mo was fascinated, then scared, as he chased one and it leaped high in his face.
Can you find the toad?

He's in the right angle, top, of the seawall, above the black pebble.

The marsh is still quite green. Just a hint of amber in the faraway phragmite heads by the saltpond.


In the higher margins the tangled weeds form a medieval tapestry as the days and season go by.


Enjoy your weekend! I hope you can get out for your own nature walk. Go slow and look closely? Here at the beach we're expecting a beach day! I'll bring my Flag blocks and my tattered sandchair down to water's edge for one last time.

this week's recipe: http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/entrees/beef/bacon-beef-butternut-squash-2/  [sub ground turkey if you like?]
And it was delicious, but I forgot to take pix. Enjoy!

me! me! Yum, yum!


gone to the beach...


  1. Hi
    Little Precious Paws keeps steeling the show! Always enjoy your beautiful pics and stories. In the previous blog you showed a lovely brown strawberry...wow! If you ever find brown fabric like that - well, you know...
    Strawberry Sue

  2. As usual wonderful pics.......so serene and beautiful. and I pinned the recipe. I have butternut squash waiting for something to happen!

  3. Look at that beach! And sky! I can just imagine you sitting there. I envy you being able to take your chair and sit at the waters edge on a moments notice. Enjoy! Kit

  4. As always gorgeous photos and beautiful sitings!

  5. Take it easy on your poor hand - maybe do more just relaxing than sewing on the beach! It sure looks like you might have a great day for it!

    Were the tiny toads maybe tree frogs? Still a strange time of year for them, but it's been such an odd year....maybe it's not that surprising. I'm not sure I ever spotted it in the picture, though.

    Take care and have a great weekend!

  6. We are at the Oregon coast this weekend. Fun to see whats happening on your side of the US.

  7. So pretty, the sky, the dunes, the marsh. The colors are so vivid. Thank you for letting us enjoy this with you. It's just wonderful seeing your side of the country!


    1. Hi Kelley and everyone! I m so glad you enjoyed our walk. Today is grey and drizzly, Mo and I got wet!

      Kel, my neighborhood HOA has enacted a feral cat neuter and release program! They give them their shots and neuter, and are educating folks that the kitties do good, getting rid of vermin that may live near the beach [rats!]?]. I am so happy my kitties will be treated kindly now. What a relief...tho Kitty and Smokey are still missing, perhaps found homes?

      love lizzy

    2. Oh my stars!!! That's wonderful!! It's so much easier to live with them as opposed to thinking of them as a problem. Well that just made my day! Thank you for telling me. Let's hope for the best for Kitty and Smokey...though I know you worry.


  8. A lovely walk. I did take the time on Saturday for a 20 minute walk near the beach. It depresses me to see all the garbage people leave behind without a care or thought. The weather is turning nicer, though, so even at noon it wasn't too hot to be out there. Today we have awful dust. Hope it clears quickly.

    In Louisiana there are often tree frogs -- when we were there in July last year, the glass door to our hotel was covered with them and they were hopping everywhere. Creeped my 25 year old out big time. Ha!

    Best wishes, Tammy

    1. A whole lotta frogs might creep me out too! Esp on the glass door! [shudder].

      Too bad people don t treat your beach well. I know it s beautiful.


Thank you for taking the time to write a comment here.