So Fragile, so Precious

The beach was bare…sometimes that’s not so good.

On Fri. May 29th I rode my bike down to Magnolia Blvd beach and incredibly, no cones, no oystercatchers. Cones, down again? Missing oystercatchers? See:

Boardwalk and cans laneDSC_1660Being flightless the chicks wouldn’t go far so I walked down to the surf and searched from jetty to jetty between Magnolia and National Blvds, no chicks, no mom and pop.

Lindell cones DSC_1681

So I walked near the underside of the boardwalk checking the posts of the emergency lane and the attendant waste receptacles. Zip. I checked the Lifeguard shack. Nada

I biked west keeping an eye out and at Lindell Blvd beach I spotted cones and adult oystercatchers. I was told these were only nesting there for a day or two. Wow! We have two nestings this year.

2 eggs cropped DSC_1711

I took some photos of this second family and caught the changing of the guard on the nest and spotted what looks like two eggs to me.

Then a gent who was on the boardwalk told me that the two “missing” Magnolia chicks and their mom and pop were now enjoying the shade of the chair atop the lifeguard mound over that way. I asked, “Are you sure, I don’t think the chicks could climb that mound.” He said, “Yes, I am and yes they did.” I’d love to have seen those downy tykes climb “Everest.”

oystchrs lifeguard stnd DSC_1712So back I went and sure enough there they were ensconced under the chair. I suspect they must have suppressed a giggle or a even a snicker as I walked past them searching surf and sand, jetty and boardwalk for them while they had a good view of my futile efforts. But, in truth, I may have encountered a curvy distraction or two.

I thought the lifeguards might encounter the family when they mounted the chair the next day at nine. I wondered if there’d be a repeat beak-attack, as happened in my last blog post, when they disturbed them. I thought it might be a good photo op.

oystercatchers in fog DSC_1723Sat. May 30, was foggy when I went to Magnolia Beach at 8:30 a.m. and spotted the mom and pop walking across the open sand…but only one chick. How unusual. How unsettling. Not good at all.

I kept watch for the other chick, thinking I’d spot some evidence of an “event.” And as I walked that huge expanse of sandy beach, there, right at my feet I came upon it…dead in the sand. I picked it up and found it still soft and warm. It was not torn, there was no outward damage from beak or talons. But I didn’t find it in a vehicle track either.

I can only surmise that in the morning fog a gull was able to snatch it from the group. Piercing red beaks must have forced him to drop it. But his damage did manage to kill the little guy.

I took it to the area beneath the boardwalk overhang and buried it there with a driftwood marker.

chick buried 2 IMG_2474

Such is life in the “wild.” Some survive some don’t make the cut. I saw the remaining chick and the mom and pop, very alert. I was far way from them but the mom rushed me in apparent aggression. I gave them a wide berth and let them be. The loss of the little guy affected me.

I walked to the surf, eternity’s portal, where life on Earth began. I would take it all in, I would let it heal me. I walked back to life, action, camera:

Lifeguard Quinn setting upIMG_2473

A young lifeguard, Quinn, was setting up for the day on the chair the oystercatchers had used for shelter just the night before.

Lifeguards launched a dinghy manned by John into the surf.

Lifeguard dinghy DSC_1772

A beachcomber, Tony, with his metal detector, trekked past an oil artist set up by the jetty.

Metal detDSC_2045

The artist, Bill, was my photo subject years earlier and now was painting the jetty and splashing surf. The jetty’s edge on his canvas continued right into the sea.

Artist jetty DSC_2024

Yes, I was at the end of a photographers rainbow. So much acton, so much life. All such a welcome sight for me and my lens.

Then yet one more golden doubloon in this rainbow’s pot…a pregnant bride photo-shoot.

Yes, one photog shooting a pregnant bride in the background with me shooting the artist in the fore. All in a warm mysterious mist.

Life, imaged with oils on canvas in incredible beauty. And backdropped by a soon-to-be mom draped in white and embraced by the warm morning fog.

artist and bride DSC_2257

Life, so fragile, so tenuous…

Lady in white DSC_2136

…so incredible.

Be well,


See also my sister blog:

4 replies »

  1. Yes,Vince, as you say, “such is life.” It of course happens often in the wild but we don’t know about it. This is just in our face because the nest is placed amongst civilization. There’s not much shore on Long Island for real wild nesting. But a gull attack would happen there too.
    I know, though, that we can count on you to do what you can to protect them from us “civilized” shore denizens.
    Be well,


  2. Sad to hear about the chick. Such is life. Let’s hope the other little guy makes it..
    I will do my best to keep the other nest coned off and protected! Seems a bit late in the season.. That’s a busy part of the beach too..


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