I can’t get enough of these cute little plovers….
They blend in so well and they move so fast–even with my zoom lens they are hard to pick up–this one is just off center to the right.
This one is smack in the center, doing a little dance….
just beneath the string…
Keep your eyes out for these little guys on the beaches this weekend….they are out and about!
I love walking on the beach really early in the morning. I especially like it when I’m the only one there and that happens more frequently than you might think, even in mid summer….
Often the mornings are misty….
Boats are still at rest in the early morning light….
Even the gulls appear to be resting. These two young gulls are immature, most likely second year, greater black backed gulls. Note their cleanly marked plumage and blackish bills.
Compare the bigger body mass and clean look of the black backs with this muddier looking, smaller gull–an immature, probably second year, herring gull.
here are more black backed gulls–a full adult, a third year herring gull (I think) and what I would call a second year black backed gull. I am not a gull expert so feel free to disagree with me if you have something to add.
The gull with the gray back is a herring gull, the one most people just refer to as a seagull. That is an immature bird on the right.
This willet landed nearby as I was taking pictures of the gulls so I included it here, too. There is at least one pair of willets nesting in the marsh nearby this beach and I see them feeding here almost daily. They don’t usually hang out up in the sandy area like this one but I think I took it by surprise.
These are just a few of the sightings I had while walking the beach early in the morning…every day is different!
I never see bunnies at the beach. I see their tracks so I know they are around but I can’t think of a single time I’ve actually seen a rabbit just hanging out on the beach. I’ve seen them in the marsh and way inside the dunes where there is more grass than sand but today I was walking down the beach and there was a bunny just hanging out between the gulls and the terns. I had my camera but when I turned it on the rabbit skedaddled…
Later as I rounded the tip of this beach where there are more dunes I saw another one…
Do you see it up there near the top of the dune? The other rabbit had run up over the dunes on the other side of this but this one came from under the rose bushes and paused a bit….
standing still and alert, waiting for me to pass by…(it never moved–this closer shot taken with my zoom lens)
and then as I was leaving the beach yet another little fellow was hanging out by the edge of the parking lot…it was definitely a bunny at the beach sort of morning…
We got up early this morning to take a long leisurely walk around a pond we love to visit…
it didn’t take long for the half grown ducklings to come for a visit. We have never fed them but obviously someone has…
love this shot of this little guy still wet from his or her foraging but keeping an eye out for any fresh handouts….
The path around this pond is quite lovely and meanders through upland as well as pond side beach areas. The early morning sunlight is so pretty coming through the trees and the heat of the day hasn’t settled in quite yet. All is still cool and lush. The ovenbirds, catbirds, great crested flycatchers and blue jays were all taking turns making a lot of noise. Towhees were out and about with their young, watching us from a safe distance as all the juniors scratched around in the leaves for bugs.
Scenes like this were plentiful, the ferns still young and springy, offering shade to the plants below and perhaps even a toad or two as well….
Sitting at the beach, drawing and minding our own business we suddenly realize we are surrounded…
from each tiny hole emerged a tiny big clawed crab…
and when they thought we weren’t looking they stood up and waved….
and if you haven’t sat on the beach surrounded by serenading fiddler crabs….quick go find some!
You know by now that I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I draw and paint outdoors almost every day though the recent spell of rainy weather hasn’t been too good for outside painting. Even so I can take cuttings of branches and flowers from the yard and paint from those.
Many people are afraid to draw or paint, indoors or outdoors, mostly because they are afraid they don’t know how. Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if everyone could just have fun with their creativity and not judge the results so much? Anyway, I encourage you to take a notebook or sketchbook outside this summer and have a little fun with some pencils, colored pencils, paints, whatever. Never mind what it looks like. Enjoy the process.
Hang out with a friend while you paint. It’s a different way to spend time together and many people, no matter what their ability level is, find this to be very relaxing.
Bring a kid along. Kids love to draw and paint and you don’t need anything fancy. Use a sketchbook or just clip some blank copy paper to a clipboard that makes it easy to walk around and find cool stuff to draw because you have your “table” with you.
If you feel uncomfortable going out by yourself, check out my summer schedule. Beginners are always welcome and the full schedule is on my Cape Cod Art and Nature website.
Perhaps my most favorite day of the year…
pretty flowers everywhere….
Great birds to see on the beach–check out the piping plover hanging out to the left of the little green heron…
Babies everywhere you look….
Frogs making their way on four legs for the first time…
Beach plums a-growing’
And a whole summer ahead to get outside and paint! Join us for any or all of this summer’s outdoor sketching and watercolor classes by Cape Cod Art and Nature.
We have been having simply wonderful weather to welcome in the summer….
To celebrate all the wonderfulness we drove up to Provincetown on Father’s Day and stopped at Highland Light in Truro to admire the flowers in the meadow against the backdrop of the sea and sky…
And looked down over the cliffs to see the beautiful beach below…
And of course, I have to include the iconic lighthouse itself…
Truly, a beautiful Cape Cod day. Sometimes I feel I store them up all spring, summer and fall to get me through all the gray cold damp and dark days of winter….
are out and around these days, as are baby gray squirrels and chipmunks. Often the youngsters still hang around together and may even still follow their parents though the parents are pretty much leading them to find their own food and no longer feeding them directly.
Here are 3 little red squirrels chasing and playing in a nearby tree….there were 4 altogether but I don’t think I got a picture of the 4 that wasn’t a complete blur.
Young mammals tend to look sleeker than the adults, which is quite different from young birds that often look larger and puffed out. Mammals grow to full size pretty quickly, depending on the species, of course, but even young coyotes and foxes are standing almost as tall as mom and dad. They are just quite a bit thinner–their muscles and fat have not kept up with their skeletal growth quite yet so they look like the sort of gawky adolescents they are.
Also, when you see squirrels hanging around together and playing like this, you can be pretty sure they are young ones. Older squirrels have other things on their mind…although you will probably still see parent squirrels watching out for the young ones for another few weeks or so. At your feeders you may be noticing an increase of squirrels. Look for the skinnier tails on young gray squirrels.
It’s true, baby birds are very cute. They are also starting to leave their nests and we may be seeing them in our backyards, in empty lots, along nature paths and even in parking lots. Many people, especially children and teens want to pick them up and bring them home to care for them. Please try to refrain from doing this.
Most of these babies are just fine on their own. They are nimble and quick and mom and dad are usually close by. Many baby birds look pretty vulnerable and cry pathetically, bringing out the mom and dad in us humans, too. This works on their parents as well which is why they do it but most of these little guys and gals are pretty tough and pretty quick. Although many cannot fly well yet they can hop and run and climb pretty well. Keep watch from a distance and you will often hear or see a parent bird nearby. If you hang around too closely you will keep the parent from coming back while you’re there so it is a good idea to watch from a distance.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has much more information about baby birds on their website.
Don’t be overly alarmed to find baby birds in strange places. I have even watched parent birds take care of babies in parking lots at malls and grocery stores and the babies do quite well even against what seem to be pretty scary odds.
If you do find a baby bird that is truly abandoned or injured please call for help. On the Cape we have some great wildlife rehabilitators that are well trained and very helpful. You can call Wild Care Cape Cod in Eastham at 508-240-2255 or Cape Cod Wildlife Center in Barnstable (Cummaquid) at 508-362-0111.
The best thing you can do to help baby birds and other animals right now? Keep your pets leashed or indoors.
Sketches by Mary Richmond