When I was a kid we found beautiful scallop shells at almost every south side beach on the Cape but especially at Kalmus and Dowse’s Beaches. Due to over harvesting and the depletion of eelgrass beds the population of these tasty little scallops, also called bay scallops, crashed. It is slowly rebounding and once again I can find scenes like this one on my early morning walks….
Blue eyed scallops are bivalves, having two shells. Often their shells don’t match which makes collecting different colored shells easy and fun. They only live about 2 years and grow to about 3″ max. Continue reading →
Our calendars say summer is still a few days away but according to the meteorologists the meteorological summer began on June 1 and it sure has been feeling and looking like summer here on Cape Cod already.
I’ve been out in fields and meadows a lot lately so thought I’d share some of my field flower photos.
Yarrow is always easy to spot. Some of it is yellow and some is pink but so far all I’ve seen is the white variety.
Indigo is just coming into bloom and is very common in our fields and along roadsides.
If you look at it closely you can see it is related to the peas.
You might also see sweet pea–but it is not a wildflower, just an escapee…
Several kinds of clover are in bloom, including the common white clover we have in our yards
And there is also the pretty pink or red clover as well as the fuzzy rabbit foot clover…
And of course everyone’s favorite–including the Monarch butterfly’s–the milkweed…
I’ll post more over the week but these are all in bloom right now and easy to find.
One of the pleasures of wandering about with no real agenda or expectations is that one sometimes comes across a real gem….
How beautiful is this little flower? It was just standing there with another of its kind in a little old wild cranberry bog in the middle of the dunes in Sandy Neck in Barnstable and was only about 5-6″ high.. I was there leading an art and nature group this past weekend and we had special permission to do some meandering but this little cranberry bog is actually right off to the side of a main trail going out to the beach from the marsh side–about 4 miles out.
This sweet ‘bog orchid’ is known as Rose Pogonia, Pogonia ophioglossoides and according to Mario DiGregorio is not as rare as you might think. In fact, back in the day this little flower was so commonly found in cranberry bogs that young girls were paid a penny a plant to rid the bogs of these pesky “weeds.”
The other name for this plant is Snakeweed, due to its ragged, tongue like appearance. Look for it in old cranberry bogs, especially in dune areas like High Head and Sandy Neck. You can find more information in the wonderful Cape Cod Wildflowers: A Vanishing Heritage by Mario DiGregorio and Jeff Wallner.
If you’re on the Cape or anywhere near, you know we have a very famous visitor here–a young black bear! Everyone’s talking about it and the jokes and stories are multiplying faster than mosquitoes around here. This guy is on the move and was noted in Brewster early yesterday morning. Well, it just so happened that my daughter, grandson and I were also headed to Brewster yesterday morning and yes, we were pretty excited about maybe seeing the bear along the way.
We were headed to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and when we got there we found we were far from alone. A news helicopter was overhead, people with cameras and binoculars were everywhere and down the road were police cars and other official cars from various agencies charged with checking out the bear and keeping people safe.
Behind this scene were several dozen people scanning the marshes and nearby woods. This was taken at the corner of Paine’s Creek Rd. and Rt. 6A. Everyone was in a happy, anticipatory mood and I couldn’t help but feel that this little bear has made a lot of people happy. For all the chatter about how disconnected from nature we all are this moment proved that really, people want to be connected to nature. They are even a bit excited about it. Now, will these same people be excited 10 years from now if bears actually begin to repopulate the Cape? That’s another story. I remember when people were excited that coyotes were here back in the beginning. These days very few people are excited about coyotes and in fact many actually hate them.
In the end none of us saw the bear….
But over the past week we’ve seen lots of other things like this lobster shedding its shell in an aquarium at the museum…
or these lovely Jack-in-the-pulpit flowers in East Sandwich
or beautiful scenes like this one at Sandy Neck
One day this past week I even was witness to a wild swarming of winged carpenter ants that came and went in a matter of hours.
So……no bear photos but a great week to be outside nonetheless!