Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Down on the Dunes

 Yesterday, Monday, we were sort of at loose ends, but it WAS NOT SNOWING, so we headed out for lunch in Salisbury, and then looking for MORE adventure, drove pretty much the whole length of Plum Island.
It is a wildlife refuge, salt marsh, dune and beach destination rolled into one.  4600 acres, 11 miles long, and a respite for migrating birds, residing birds as well as deer, amphibians, reptiles and (apparently) a large population of "spadefoot toads,"  which are endangered even though they are said to "breed explosively."  Though sunny, it was only in the 20's and because of the proximity to the Atlantic, it was windy besides.  (look for the white caps!).
I wish I could identify the gnarly tree in the photo above.  If it were Texas, it would be a mesquite... but since it isn't....
 I assume this lithe white-barked beauty is a beech..
Right next to the parking spaces for this view is a sign asking "What good is a salt marsh?"
 Ducks (or in this case, Canada Geese) float in the unfrozen part and sit on the iced over sections.

 I'm glad their feet don't freeze.  Mine would.
 If you embiggen this, you can read about the history of New England's aviation industry.  Local builders built plans to the Wright Brothers' specifications.
 A board walk leads from the road toward the ocean.
 Little could I tell from the road how LONG the walk would be!  (I didn't go very far.  Did I say it was COLD?)
I appreciated that the steps were painted a precautionary safety yellow.
The dunes, grasses, arroyos and frozen rivulets made interesting patterns.  You are not permitted off the boardwalk in order to protect the dunes.

 At the North end of the Island there is a residential area with beachy houses in various states of grandeur, disrepair and invitingness.
 DH wanted to see the ocean; he hadn't ventured out on the boardwalk.  So we practically drove up this persons driveway to see the ocean between the homes.  Some house foundations were eroded during the last Nor'easter.  Apparently the jury is still out on how to or whether one can prevent further erosion.

This scene reminds me of being at Stephen King's house!
Did you know that if "it" isn't a waterspout, it's called a "grotesque" rather than a gargoyle?  Now you do.

I think it is hard to look intimidating if you are wearing a Christmas hat.

The bridge home from Newburyport has rust issues. I think it is known as the Whittier Bridge.  It is slated for replacement. http://www.wickedlocal.com/newburyport/news/x1780483655/Whittier-Bridge-replacement-in-2013#axzz2K4xK0Agj


Ed Bolton said...

I meant to get over there more this past year than I did. Last February, I bought a year pass to the refuge. I did cross the break even point, but just barely.
I can only get there on weekends, but during the spring the refuge is mobbed with birders looking for whatever happens to be migrating past. In the summer, there is a unique species of aggressive horsefly that really tortures you out there, and around mid-July most of the refuge beaches are closed off for the duration of the warm weather to protect piping plovers (birds that nest right on the beach- and they wonder why they are going extinct!) Though cold, I like winter at the refuge. It is very peaceful.
Regards, ed_bltn

vivienne strauss said...

What a gorgeous place! Thank you for sharing these photos, on my list for spring trips!