When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do on a long afternoon was play with my father’s moose, duck and turkey calls. Hunters used these to trick moose, ducks and turkeys into coming closer, at least some hunters did. I personally think my father just like making funny noises.
Every fall he would go to Maine and New Hampshire with some old Army buddies to go hunting. To my knowledge my dad never shot anything on these trips but he always came home with lots of great stories of what he had seen. My mom said he just liked an excuse to go tromping around in the woods. Anyway….
my dad would sure have been surprised to see wild turkeys running around everywhere on Cape Cod. Turkeys are now in every town on the Cape and have become a pretty common sight, even along the highways and in the down town areas. These birds used to be very rare. Even in places they were known to be they were hard to find and see. Turkeys were reintroduced in Massachusetts only about 20 or 25 years ago, I think and have certainly made a good come back.
Turkeys travel in flocks and usually there is only one male with a whole harem of females. You may also see a bunch of young males hanging around together that don’t have their own harems quite yet.
These turkeys were all raising their tails in the air while running down the driveway. I had stopped my car to take their picture out the window in the rain but they wanted nothing to do with me…..I found these turkeys in Eastham yesterday but you can see turkeys just about anywhere on the Cape.
Have you seen a wild turkey?
The Nor’easter of the last few days has been very intense with strong winds and deluges of rain. Branches and trees are down everywhere but nowhere is the damage felt as strongly as along our beaches. Although the outer Cape beaches have probably felt the impact the strongest, many bay side and even south facing beaches have taken big hits as well.
On the outer Cape the erosion has been so severe that most of the stairs leading down to the beaches have been washed away and the dunes so undercut that no one is allowed down on the actual beaches. At high tide, there is no beach. Only what’s left of the cliffs and the raging water…this first picture is from Marconi Beach in Wellfleet.
This second shot is from Nauset Light Beach, where the only stairs remaining are the top few that are still hanging on to the platform…
This view from Fort Hill doesn’t look very threatening….until you realize there is no marsh and no barrier beach to be seen….all under water!!! Very shocking….
Here’s foggy view of what is left of the barrier beach in the distance. You can see the water washing over it and over the marsh (or what used to be the marsh) behind it.
This white water was already past the dunes that used to be there at Coast Guard Beach and slamming against the bushes that are supposed to be upland, not wetland plants….
Storms have always caused upheavals and rearrangements of beach area on the Cape but in my lifetime this seems like one of the most severe ones. We will have to wait until the tides recede and the waves calm down to truly assess the damage….
Sorry I haven’t posted this week but I’ve been sick and was unable to post. I have tons of new pictures to share, though, so be sure to visit over the weekend.
One of my favorite early spring signs is seeing the snowdrops bloom. This year they at least didn’t have to bloom in the snow!
Skunk cabbage is growing in wetland areas….
All the budding bushes and shrubs are giving the landscape a pink tinge….
And there’s something different in the ponds….
Green plants are already growing, reaching for the sun!
And winter ducks, such as this male red-breasted merganser are courting and displaying even as they prepare for their long journey north to breed and nest.
Growing up in Hyannis I spent a lot of time in the Hyannis Public Library as a kid and it was there that I discovered the wonderful world of Thornton Burgess. Peter and Mrs. Rabbit, Jimmy Skunk, Bobby Raccoon, Joe Otter, Grandfather Frog and Reddy Fox soon became wonderful friends in my imagination and helped fuel my ongoing love of nature.
As many of you know I write several weekly nature columns. I also write a monthly column and occasional articles and essays for the Barnstable Patriot
. Today they published my essay on Thornton Burgess and you can read it here
. (scroll down until you see the illustration)
(the photo was taken by me at the Thornton Burgess Society’s Green Briar Nature Center but is not current)