Monday, July 31, 2006

A Hot Morning Walk on Sunset Beach

After attending the Sierra Club's Red Tide Forum on Sunday (see previous post)I was inspired to take a walk on the beach this morning. I needed to get out and measure the Gulf water temperature anyway since I hadn't done that in a week or so. The water is now at 89 degrees. I think that's a little cooler than it was at this time last year. But it still feels quite warm. The air temperature at 10 am was 91 degrees and not a hint of breeze. The sky was very hazy. Overall it was stifling hot.

The beach was nearly deserted but for a few people, mostly sheltered under umbrellas. The birds were relaxing on the beach after a morning of fishing. I got a nice photo of a black skimmer resting on the beach. It's hard to photograph skimmers because they usually fly when a human gets close, but this morning it was just too hot to fly. Skimmers are amazing birds. Their lower beak is longer than the upper. They fly along the shore, dipping their beak into water that is only a few inches deep, snapping it shut when they touch a fish. You have to see it to believe it can be done.
black skimmer on beach
I also got a nice photo of an American Oystercatcher. They are normally seen singly or in pairs and are usually very shy and difficult to approach. This morning I had no trouble getting within 15 feet. They are beautiful birds with their bright orange beaks.
oystercatcher on beach
The beach rake was out smoothing out the sand and breaking up any hard areas that might form. This is part of grooming a renourished beach, which can sometimes form hard-packed areas, quite unlike a natural soft sand beach.
beach rake in action on sunset beach
One thing that disturbed me was seeing a lawn maintenance or pest control technician spraying poison on a condominium lawn within about 50 feet of the beach. This afternoon it is going to rain and wash all that poison right into the Gulf. When are we going to wise up? The same people that are having their lawns sprayed are the ones that cry the loudest when dead fish start washing up on "their" beach! Insanity.
spraying lawn poison near the beach



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