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...