Date: 4/16/18 7:12 am From: Rick Bowes <rbowes...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] 4/14 Duxbury Beach (a bit long...) some pix
The beach road is finally open end to end for properly stickered vehicles (more re storm damage at end of this post). As for the birds it will be interesting to see if things change; I suspect not much. We'll see how hospitable the High Pines and Plum Hills thickets will be for migrant passerines when the leaves start coming out (or not). As might be expected, the Snowy Owls weathered the events (www.pbase.com/rickbowes/image/167298079 <http://www.pbase.com/rickbowes/image/167298079> and www.pbase.com/rickbowes/image/167298081 <http://www.pbase.com/rickbowes/image/167298081> ). Found one on Friday improbably sharing a snow fence with a Phoebe! (http://www.pbase.com/rickbowes/image/167298080).
Saturday's outing (4/14) featured a beautiful Kestrel, Palm and Yellow-rumped warblers and a bevy of Phoebes and both kinglets. Winter waterfowl numbers are dwindling fast except for the Brant, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Buffleheads who tend to linger. They are well worth longer looks now as, like all species in the run-up to breeding, their plumage, bills and legs are much brighter and shinier than during the winter. The colors are really popping on the mergansers and remaining scoters! Many Red-throated loons have been in the bay (all still in basic plumage) while some Common Loons are fairly far along in their molts. Piping Plovers are much in evidence and appear to be enjoying the many new sandy areas created by the washovers, and the orange string "fences" have already appeared thanks to the conscientious efforts of Mass Audubon's Coastal Waterbird Program (support it please!). A bit ominous for the Piping Plovers, I spotted a healthy looking Coyote on the crest of the dune between High Pines and the 3rd xover. Full ebird list with some additional pix is at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S44573411.
The amount of damage wreaked by the March no'reasters was significant with impressive washovers depositing feet-deep layers of sand and stones in broad swaths at various points the length of the beach. (some photos taken during the March 3-4 storm from the west side of the Bay are here: http://www.pbase.com/rickbowes/march2018_storm_pix). The road itself has had to be rebuilt in a number of spots especially the High Pines area and snow fencing is a shambles in many places. I've not walked the ocean side, and I'm told the east side of the dune experienced even more serious erosion. That said, it is obvious that without the snow fencing, especially the new extra sturdy stuff put up in key places last summer which is now nearly buried in fist-sized and larger stones, it would have been worse. Also the ongoing efforts each year to plant and protect beach grass and other vegetation unquestionably enabled the dune to survive as well as it did. Restoration continues, and I'm told that the Duxbury Beach Reservation's emergency fund is being seriously depleted and that previously available supplemental funding sources (e.g., FEMA) are not going to be available this time around.