Bluff Point beach.

We made our yearly pil­grim­age out to Bluff Point a few weeks ago in the hopes of see­ing the mon­archs on the sea­side gold­en­rod dur­ing their south­ern migra­tion rest stop. They can num­ber into the hun­dreds when they are pass­ing through town. The day we went was the only day we could go that week. Unfor­tu­nately, the weather didn’t coöper­ate. It was too cold, rainy, and windy for the mon­archs to want to leave their pro­tec­tive roost. We were on the beach for over an hour and only saw one monarch fly­ing in as we were leaving.


Tree from a large storm on beach.

Despite the cold rain, we had a won­der­ful time comb­ing the beach for beau­ti­ful shells and stones. Along the way we picked up trash like we usu­ally do. This time we picked up 6.02 kg of mis­cel­la­neous trash. There was a shirt, two flip flops, plas­tic wrap­pers, shot­gun shells, plas­tic bot­tles and caps, bal­loon pieces with rib­bon still attached, sty­ro­foam cup pieces, etc. Most of the trash we found was some kind of plas­tic. We made a point of search­ing the wrack­line care­fully, so that any­thing that had washed up in the last tide would not go back out to sea on the next. As we made our way down the beach, we spread out so that one of us was always scan­ning the area along the water, the beach in the cen­ter, and the upper beach along the plant line.

We found some beau­ti­ful scal­lop shells. The trick was bal­anc­ing the num­ber of shells I could carry in my shorts pock­ets against what weight of shells would make my shorts fall down. (Note to self: Get new clothes that fit cor­rectly AND remem­ber to bring a bag with a shoul­der strap.) I had to stop col­lect­ing at a cer­tain point, but, thank­fully, I man­aged with­out hav­ing to hold my shorts up for the two mile walk back from the beach!

A wild aster Johann picked for me.

About halfway down the beach I spot­ted what I thought was a plover feed­ing. After search­ing our iden­ti­fi­ca­tion books once we got home, we think it was a juve­nile sander­ling. He kept run­ning in and out of the surf and peck­ing at the sand to eat. I was so excited to see this lit­tle bird. In all the times we’ve been out to Bluff Point, we’ve never seen any of these birds, only seag­ulls. I couldn’t get a good enough pic­ture with my iPhone. I was able to get Eric and Johann’s atten­tion, so that they could get some good shots of our lit­tle friend. I was stone still. He got within 15 feet of me before he real­ized I was there and flew away. Then we con­tin­ued on our quest for trash, shells, and driftwood.

Walking back from the beach.

After walk­ing nearly the full length of the beach, we took the foot­path to the calmer side where the river comes out and the tide affects the marshy area like a con­stantly chang­ing lake. We came back that way. The tide was com­ing in, which started to over­flow the path­way. With cold, soak­ing feet, a bag full of trash, and loaded down with beach­comb­ing finds, we made our way back to the park­ing area and headed home to get hot drinks and change into warm clothes. Walks along the beach have a sooth­ing effect on us. We love the smell of the salt air and the wind in our faces. Despite the fact that a hot shower would have warmed us up faster, we weren’t will­ing to let go of the salt air smell in our hair and on our skin that soon. Even though it wasn’t the day we had planned, it still turned out to be a great day at the beach!