I’d rather be sailing, but the following sailboats are not mine. I only saw them last week as they left Barnegat Bay to go toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Today is a rainy day, with up to 2 in (5 cm) of rain to fall all day long. It’s time then to show photos taken on a sunny day last week of an Oystercatcher named T2 and his companion, Lady Hamilton, as dubbed by the locals at Barnegat.
They went inside the restricted area of the beach, walked up the dunes and maybe toward their nest. Another blogger on WordPress said that this pair, together now for several years, has not yet managed to produce any offspring, but there could be hope for this year.
Oystercatcher are of national conservation concern, with several thousands living on the shore of Mid Atlantic states like New Jersey.
All these coming and goings under the watchful eye of Barnegat Lighthouse.
Semipalmated Plovers are very close to Piping Plovers in size and cuteness. They look similar but with different feather colors as you can see in the photos below. I found several dozen of them in the roped off area of the beach at Barnegat Lighthouse, with one or two Piping Plovers running through their midst.
A crucial distinction is that the Semipalmated Plover is not considered endangered, with a population estimated to be about 200,000. There are fewer than 10,000 Piping Plovers.
Piping Plovers are considered an endangered species, or they are at least on the verge of being so. That’s why a section of the beach and dunes at Barnegat Lighthouse is roped off from April to September. Signs placed at regular intervals warn that the area is a nesting site for them, and for two other kinds of shore birds, Black Skimmers and Least Terns.
Of course these cute little birds disregard the signs, and I have seen some running out to search for food on the beach and near the water. They look like cotton balls trotting up and down between the dunes and the waves.
I saw a couple of Oystercatchers this past Sunday near the end of the jetty at Barnegat Lighthouse. They were walking on the beach, finding shellfish to eat, not minding people approaching to take their pictures. One was banded with “T2” clearly visible.
Last Sunday I saw a vivid flash of orange fly by as I walked along a trail next to Barnegat Lighthouse. It was a male Scarlet Tanager, the first time I saw one. It kept jumping from branch to branch, even spending some time on the ground. It had to be one of the most handsome birds in the Northeast United States. Because it was so active, I had trouble focusing and only two shots turned out well enough to post here.
A week ago at the Barnegat Lighthouse, many people came to walk along the beach, as it was sunny and the wind was bearable, especially if one wore a good winter jacket or coat.
Along the jetty, but away from the swift currents that Harlequin ducks preferred, there were three other kinds of ducks or waterbirds swimming and diving calmly for food.
Earlier in the day, I saw a pair of Mallards dabbling for food at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge which has been practically closed due to road repairs for at least half a year now.