WATCH OUT FOR THOSE WAVES!
This was the scene on Sunday, August 23, as the effects of Hurricane Bill hit our shoreline. There was very little wind, but the surf was dangerously high, even for our avid camera buffs. The tide was still two hours from its highest point, so the beaches were being eroded and disappearing as the waves washed in and out. This storm is like some that come later in September, so it was a rare occasion for campers to witness. Many delayed their departure to experience the excitement. One can't help but wonder how the animals survive such fury. Many lobster traps were washed ashore, another reminder of the hazards of lobstering.
The traps on Head Beach were numerous. Most were mangled by the surf, but one was usable and even had bait still inside. No lobsters were found, or other animals that venture inside these traps. The picture to the right was taken from the campsite closest to Head Beach near Joe's Head. I have the feeling those waves would have eventually washed into the campsite which was vacant.
In contrast to the storm turbulence, we had an interesting hike into the Center Pond Preserve last week. What was intriguing were the numerous small frogs hopping about as we followed the trails around the beaver pond. We easily netted them for a closer look and found them to be Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs in their early stages. Both leave the ponds or vernal pools once equipped with lungs. In this picture, the Wood Frog with its black eye mask is on the left. The Peeper, unusually green, is on the right. The Peeper doesn't get much longer than an inch, while the Wood Frog will continue to grow to 3-4 inches.
We celebrated a return to normalcy along the shoreline on Tuesday. The sun was out and warm, and the seas settled down. There was an abundance of seaweed torn away from its anchorage.......high piles to climb. If you are an algae lover there are all sorts to find, and eat if you so desire. It isn't often we find the Edible Kelp, or the multi-fingered Horsetail Kelp that looks like an Hawaiian hula skirt! Roger was on the beach with his truck trying to move a giant log that had landed on Sanddune Beach. A dead Seal was left as dinner for gulls. You could see where the water had washed into shoreline sites, but thank goodness no one was injured or swept out to sea. A boat was reported on shore, having broken from its mooring in the high surf.
We made our way to Starfish Cave in the early morning, somewhat slowed by wet rocks. Once there, it looked as it the cave had been swept clean by the surf, though we found several sea stars, urchins and crabs. As our hunters grew more curious and explored further, we found a Blood Star, Asian Shore Crab and even a Brittle Star! It is amazing how these animals have survived the turbulent sea. There was even a large boulder that landed in the pool outside the cave that had never been there before. I have a feeling it will remain where it landed, a good hiding place for animals, and maybe even a stepping stone for humans. 8/26/09 Ronnie