Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Autumn Weekend: Sunset Beach and Higbee meadows

Turning south onto Sunset Boulevard, I soon encountered Sunset Beach, where birders often look for seabirds and shorebirds on the jetties and the concrete ship. Yep, that says "concrete ship."

Aside from me, two fishermen and a woman who looked to be collecting shells, the beach was empty. The cold, strong wind had most visitors enjoying the view from the warmth of their cars and had the waves splashing strongly against the ship and the rocks.

I'm sorry to report, Mica, that I didn't find any Cape May diamonds. Maybe in May!

Driving north on Sunset, I made a left onto Bayshore Road, toward The Beanery. At the 641 intersection, I turned south toward Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area. The parking lot held a few vehicles, but the place didn't look crowded.

Turning toward the meadows, I followed the path to the right and soaked in the view. This spot feels good to my soul, you know?

Dark-eyed Juncos and some LBJs that eluded identification foraged on the ground near the path, while an occasional raptor, such as a white-rumped Northern Harrier, and Turkey Vultures soared overhead. Well, the raptors soared, and the vultures wobbled.

Closer to my eyes, Yellow-rumped Warblers flitted amidst the leaves, a Carolina Wren sang a few times, and an Eastern Phoebe perched on a conspicuous branch. During the walk toward the car, a Northern Flicker flew across the path and landed high in a tree. The bright red V really stood on the back of his neck, and he called repeatedly while swiveling his head. The sun warmed my back as I watched him, and it felt so good to be there.


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