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and who-knows-what that might wash ashore.

Photo diaries about wildflowers and trees, birds and bugs, and maybe some critters as I wander and learn about the natural beauty of our world.
June 20, 2013

It's summer - back to the beach! And beach for us is the east shore of Lake Ontario, the most eastern of the Great Lakes. Yup, we are downstream from a whole bunch of the country (and Canada), right near the eventual exit of all the water in the Great Lakes. So if some kid loses his toy in a park near Duluth, it might wash up on my bit of beach someday.

Here's a snapshot looking south to Southwick Beach NY State Park. Wiki has a nice write-up and there's my diary from last summer. To call this "blue skies" is a misnomer.

and looking north towards Little Galoo Island on the left which the park sign told me was a nesting ground for Caspian Terns.  Photos here show you what I see everyday but will never be able to film.

Also on the sign at the park ---- maps. I keep showing the grandson maps of where we are. Maps on computer, iPhone, iPad, books, roadmaps, signmaps.... no excuse for not knowing or learning where you are.

He asked about the Birder's Calendar and learned what fowl is. And if you'd like to fowl along below the fold, there are more pictures and descriptions.

Slow going on this diary today; I keep getting up to walk over the new dune to the beach. The new dune is what I started on my mom's wind-swept front lot 35 years ago. All I did was float some massive logs from way down the beach, roll them up to the lot, and lay parallel to the beach. Nature did the rest. The heavy west wind, thru all the storms, thru all the seasons, blew sand and buried logs. Beach grass took root, as did grape vines, and more sand filled in.

Cottonwoods grace the beachside. It was iffy for these saplings at first with occasional storms pushing water thru their roots but since the lake lowered, probably forever, the trees grew to make shade for the hot days and anchors for the hammocks.

From a USDA factsheet on Cottonwood:

Due to its rapid growth rate, it is frequently used for providing quick shade around recreational developments, campsites and picnic areas.
That sounds about right.

Our beach got blessed this day with all the litter that roiled in the waves. The shoreline is never even; the sand constantly shifts; storms create high and low water marks. We got stuck with a low spot and the flotsam drifted in. Bits of wood from long-ago trees; pieces of discarded plastic; and shells.

One of the "invasives" I've noted in my lifetime is the zebra mussel.
When I was a kid, there were no shells mixed in the sand, no need to wear sandals or shoes.

Another evil in the lake is fishing line. Here's the biggest clump I picked up. On the positive side, it seems to attract more litter and wrap it up neat for us to dispose of.

Paste-up of various plastics: That kid's toy from Duluth; a windshield scraper (I could have used that back in March); and a jawbone from what may be a pike or muskie.  

Back in the day, finding a black lump on the beach or in your stocking meant coal. Now it's brokedown rubber, congealed foam or solidified grease/oil. Do not handle!

In contrast we see what should be there - cotton from the cottonwood.

Down on the park beach is the big rock. The big rock has always been there, the big rock will always be there. It was humiliated once when someone painted it street-marking yellow but the wind and waves are washing away its shame as it sits and waits for the next Ice Age.

A day on the beach ends with sunsets on the beach. Being this far north at 45º latitude stretches sunsets past 10 PM so we are looking forward to this weekend with the longest day and a full moon. WOO_HOOO! All that driftwood to burn, and tales to talk of, and folks to share with.

Framed by Cottonwoods

Image details say 8:17 PM for first photo before sunset, and 8:50 for 2nd photo at sunset.
Alas, days will be getting shorter.

Here's a couple more signs from the park.

A reminder - these are some of the birds I am looking for so I can start a new Backyard Science Yardbird count.

And today, Friday, looks to be just as lovely. The terns were having a blast at 6 AM cruising a very quiet lakeshore and making big splashes. Maybe I get lucky and get a photo of one plunging.....

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