|It's hibiscus time in the gardens.|
During the month of August I'd bet money that there are more out-of-town license plates on Cape Cod roads and parking lots than local ones. It's the culmination of summer and
the usual, cool sea breezes were in short supply. Cape Cod hasn't been spared the hot and humid weather that has plagued the mainland, but beachgoers are not to be stopped by anything less than a major storm. HOW HUMID IS IT? It takes two hands to open the doors, which have swelled with the unusual amount of moisture, and another two hands plus a hip and shoulder to get them closed again. This too shall pass and the sooner the better.
Beachgoers in Orleans had a fun surprise at Skaket Beach on Cape Cod Bay this month when vacationing Brian Convery, a one-time resident, showed off his skills at sand sculpture. His crashed UFO, complete with lights and space engine sounds drew an appreciative crowd and landed him in the local paper.
State Biologist, Greg Skomal, who is famous for his 5-year tagging study of great white sharks, also got a surprise when a great white he was trying to tag breached and snapped at his feet on the bowsprit over the water.
The Video: Great White Shark Breaches
To Bird, or Not to Bird
|Rosie, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak dressed to the 9's.|
Recently, I came across an article by Phil Kyle, a contributing writer for the Cape Cod Times, entitled Birding: Are you a birder or a bird-watcher? Although we're crazy enough to buy seed in 50 pound bags and have feeders viewable from every window in the house, I'd have to classify us as "bird-watchers". We're NOT crazy enough to get up at all hours and go out in any weather to find particular species. That, apparently, is the difference.
|Goldie the Goldfinch loves our sunflowers that sprout from the spilled black sunflower seed.|
But, I learned a bit about how birding of one type or another has come to captivate 38.7 million people in the United States, as of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife 2016 survey. According to this article, from the 15th century up into the 1900's, "going birding" meant they were actually hunting for birds...to eat.
|Hugo Hummingbird loves the Cardinalis flower.|
Observing birds for their aesthetic qualities began in the late 1700's.
In 1896, the Massachusetts Audubon Society was formed by two women [Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall] to persuade stylish ladies to refrain from the cruel harvesting of bird plumage to adorn their hats.
|Sergio & Sasha Starling, staying close to the feeder during a storm.|
|Bennie and Bertha Bluebird share a perch.|
|Roger the Red-winged Blackbird is the official announcer of Spring.|
Today, "birders" are considered a "citizen science element", and much of what ornithologists know about birds has come from the observations of dedicated amateur birders. And, that brings me full circle to our casual bird-watcher status.
|Orson Oriole will fly all the way from Costa Rica for oranges and grape jelly.|
Our quest is to see how many species we can attract to us, not the other way around.
|Claudia and Claude Cardinal take shelter in the lilac tree|
Over the last nine years of adding feeders, trying different seed, photographing each new species and jokingly calling our B&B, Bed & Birds, we tend to think of them as our adopted avian family. We keep the year-rounders well fed in every form of weather, and we watch expectantly for the ones who winter in the south to return here to their second home and make babies.
|"The Freddies" -Purple Finches - chillin' in the beach rose bush during a storm.|
|Robin, who like Prince and Cher, only needs one name and regularly fills the birdbath with a layer of dirt.|
|Bob White Quail, always formally attired and ready to dance his way into the brush.|
With all the extra shoulder and hip action going on with doors vs. humidity, it's good to know someone with the skills to make everything feel better again. Meet my massage therapist extraordinaire, Kimlyn, who not only smooths out my self-inflicted gardening damage, but keeps herself in shape swimming in her backyard, the Cape Cod Bay. The new "swim fins" were borrowed from a friend, and not only do they double down on a swimming workout, they make a fetching view for all lucky enough to make a mermaid siting.
|See you soon, Kimlyn!|