Foggy morning on the beach

I love a good foggy morning. Good thing, because we get lots of them in the spring as the air on land heats up faster than the water….

We get awesome views like this one

003and this one

030We get to see gulls strutting their stuff in puddles in parking lots

007and geese hanging out to rest and preen

035with their new best friend, a laughing gull–one of the first of the year for me!

034All photos taken in Hyannis, between Kalmus and Veteran’s Beaches on Ocean Street.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter walking on Cape Cod beaches

If you were here on the Cape this past Sunday you know it was a real teaser. It still didn’t really look like spring. There was plenty of snow on the ground heaped up and left over from all that snowing and plowing but it sure felt like spring. Heck, the first day we had that the temperature was above freezing last week felt downright balmy and it was only 40 degrees! On Sunday it was over 50!

My better half and I headed down Cape for a day of playing hooky and beach walking. The laundry, vacuuming and other such chores could wait. A good beach day for walking has been very rare this winter so we knew we better take our chance while we could.

Our first stop, as almost always, was Fort Hill.

099It is always beautiful there and it seemed like a good time to play with the new panoramic feature on my iPhone so here’s the big and wide view.

After walking around Fort Hill checking out the birds and the greening signs of spring we headed off to Coast Guard Beach. We were not alone. The parking lot was full and we soon found out why. It was a great day for paddle boarding and a tiny bit of surfing.

109The views from the beach here are always spectacular.

114That was looking in one direction. Looking in another direction the sky was a bit more ominous.

107It was that way all day. One way sunny, the other darker and cloudier. We stopped at a few more favorite spots along the way and then headed into Provincetown to have lunch at Napi’s.

120We had to visit the Provincetown Book Store, of course and walked around enjoying the winter sights before heading back towards home. We stopped at Corn Hill Beach in Truro.

121Newcomb Hollow in Wellfleet

125Cahoon Hollow in Wellfleet

131Where the Beachcomber lost a lot of dune frontage and looks pretty forlorn waiting for winter to be over…..

136We stopped at First Encounter Beach in Eastham….

138Where it looked all warm and sunny on one side….

141but not so much on the other side.

All in all it was a beautiful day for beach walking and it did our souls good after way too many days trapped inside by ice and snow and biting winds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling away from summer…..

It’s that time of year again. It seems a bit early for this chilly weather but here it is…

At the beach we are getting some drama in the sky…

001The seaside goldenrod is in bloom….

 

012The dusty miller is giving the dunes a nice warm feeling….

013The beach grasses are beginning to turn color…

017And all along the shore are the shells of molting crabs, horseshoe crabs and the leftover shells from gull meals like this sweet scallop….

023I’ll be posting more late summer and early fall pictures soon. Have a great week and don’t forget to get outside!

 

 

 

 

 

A day in Chatham

Saturday was a great day for getting out and about so we headed to Chatham to take a look at the beaches there. We knew the big blizzard had done a lot of damage and opened a new break on South Beach so we went to see what we could see. We were not alone. Parking lots were jammed and crowds of people were looking through binoculars, taking pictures and videos and walking out onto the beaches to see the breaks up close.

Our first stop was at Pleasant Bay, just because it was so pretty and sparkly.

The wind and water of the last few weeks left a trail of horseshoe crab molts all along the edge of the road and in the bushes…

At the fish pier you could see the few remaining cottages on North Beach in the distance

The fish market is all closed up, waiting for warmer days…

Lighthouse Beach parking lot was jammed and there were maybe several hundred people milling about…the views were spectacular, though sobering for those of us who know this area…this shot is looking back toward the harbor.

This view is looking down South Beach. Note the people walking but also the large pools of water. The break is not too far beyond the scope of this photo but I couldn’t capture it with my little camera from where we were….

and another view

Starkly beautiful, sad, sobering and thought provoking all at the same time….

Losing ground…

The Cape lost a lot of sand in the span of just one day, more or less. It was a wild, wet and windy day but still, it didn’t take very long to undercut, flood or wash away dunes and sand cliffs that had stood guard over beaches and marshes for many, many years.

To be honest, I haven’t had the heart to go see much of the devastation, especially on the lower Cape. I did, however go see what had happened at Town Neck Beach in Sandwich. I have spent many, many years at Town Neck Beach either walking or leading nature classes there. It is a unique and beautiful area that has been under siege for years now due to the jetty built to hold the shape of the canal at one end of the beach. Like all jetties this one allows for sand build up on one side and sand depletion on the other since it stops the natural redistribution of sand.

The truth is that sand is always in motion and our beaches are constantly rearranging themselves. Sometimes watching the way they do that can be very depressing and hard to bear, especially when a beloved beach seems to just be slipping away…but when you know that the reason was man made and that nothing is being done to control it then it is especially difficult…

See this sand? This used to be a dune….it got blown through by water and wind in the blizzard last week and is now in the parking lot and the adjacent salt marsh.

This looks like a pretty scene…

until you realize that there used to be a big dune there. You would not have had an ocean view before the dune got washed out. This was a huge dune and it is not the same dune I showed you that is now in the parking lot…

This is the salt marsh behind the dune. There is a huge amount of sand there now where there used to be a rocky walkway…

here’s a close up view of the back of yet another dune. That’s right–this erosion was on the backside of the dune! The water erosion is from the high tide in the marsh!

Here’s another look at that big break…

This is not petty damage….the marsh behind these dunes (and there were 8 breaks in all!) is already flooded more often than it should be. If you have driven through Sandwich on 6A you may have noticed you drive over a bridge over the marsh. That’s the same marsh you see here. Constant flooding will not only compromise the marsh but the roadway itself, the homes and businesses nearby and well, you get the picture. Sandwich built a road and half a town on a salt marsh way back when. If the town doesn’t act soon, the ocean may be coming to take some of it back.

There’s a group formed in Sandwich to help raise public awareness and to try and replenish this beach. It is called the Trustees of Sandwich MA, Beach. You can get more information about their efforts on their website http://www.Trusteesofsandwichbeaches.org

 

A gray day….

We sure have had a gray winter. We haven’t had a lot of snow but it’s been cold enough that the little bit of snow we have had has stayed on the ground long past its due….I don’t know about you but I’m finding it tiresome….I have had to drag myself outside to walk each day….

And then, there was this morning at the beach…so beautiful it took my breath away…

Everything was so still and serene…

There was still snow from last night but not a lot…

There were lots of tracks already–human, dog, gulls and crows mostly…

The incoming tide allowed for beautiful patterns in the underwater seaweeds

The jetty was frosted with just the right amount of snow…

And in the distance the dock and pilings stood tall against the gray water and sky…

But perhaps sweetest of all was finding this heart in the snow made by two sets of footprints and decorated with a snow angel in the middle…

Funny how some days you make yourself go out, expecting it to be sort of a blah, boring walk but instead you find serene, profound beauty….

The light after the storm….

Over the last few days the light has been amazing so I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos…

Here is Kalmus Beach in Hyannis…

There was a lot of erosion of the dunes…

Rain and sun mixed in the clouds together…

Morning light under a dark front…

light and dark mix at sunrise to make amazing effects on the waves…

even the light in the dunes reflected the light in the clouds

afternoon skies began to clear…

and finally the light began to fade into the colors of dusk, muted and quiet…

so many beautiful scenes….I hope you got out to enjoy some of them….

 

 

 

Cruising the great marsh of Barnstable…

Over the last weekend I was lucky enough to ride the high tide into the creeks and channels of the great marsh of Barnstable on The Horseshoe Crab, the boat for the Barnstable Harbor Ecotours. I had been asked to fill in as a leader for a trip so was going out with some other leaders to get a lay of a land and to become familiar with the kind of tour they were looking for.

The views of the flooded marsh were simply spectacular…. Continue reading

A free digital download for you!

I am presently working on a coloring and activity book with a Cape Cod theme and while doing my programs this summer came up with a small, easily downloadable booklet called “My Cape Cod Beach.Book.” It is printed on both sides of one piece of paper, cut in half and either tied together with string or yarn or stapled. It fits easily into a pocketbook or backpack and is great for those times kids have to spend waiting….

Here’s a quick picture tutorial of how to put your booklet together. Ordering information is at the end of this post.  Continue reading

Blue Eyed Scallops

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