Thursday, July 16, 2009


I walked on the beach early yesterday and today and hope to do so often in the next couple of months. The dunes area has been closed to people for a couple of weeks so that shore birds could have a second go at reproducing since a serious storm apparently swept away nests and newborns about three weeks ago. The area is still marked off -- with a thin piece of red twine.

Yesterday I saw a couple of adult sandpipers but today I saw a couple of mothers with babies. Full grown sandpipers are small birds, one could easily nest in my palm. The babies -- one had one, another had two -- were the wee-est birds I've ever seen. They were only a little over an inch long. But they were perfect! They dashed about at the water's edge just the way mama did although her dashes tended to be about 15 to 18 inches long and theirs more like 8 to 12 inches at a time. Their tiny legs churned them along so fast they became a mere blur. Mama called often. She seemed to be looking for edibles, babies seemed simply to be practicing their dashes. Mama flew a bit now and then but babies did not attempt flight.

How tiny the eggs must have been! And how very tiny the hatchlings, perhaps only a week or so ago. How miraculous those tiny birds seemed. I just stood and watched until they progressed down the shore in the dirction I had come and became invisible and I preceded on my walk toward the end of the spit of land which is Long Beach - actually a nature reserve although there is a long sandy beach where the ocean was gently lapping, sometimes wetting my feet, usually washing away my footprints. This is a beautiful, peaceful way to begin a day. Between 7:15 and 8:30 I saw no more than eight other people. Far more gulls than people.

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