Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shore Birds in Danger? Park Rangers to the Rescue!

It was sunny in downtown Wellfleet yesterday morning when Sven and I headed out to Newcomb Hollow Beach. Mist rolled in from the sea and blanketed the shore. There were a few cars in the parking lot, but not many. A few resolute beachgoers lolled on the beach, dressed in sweatshirts. A few shore birds strut their stuff. A few men walked dogs on leaches. And, in the distance … whoa! What’s this I spy?
Four – count them – all-terrain vehicles, of the type the National Seashore favors as transportation, stood parked together like a family of bulldogs, intent on a bone. I hurried over to check out what was going on. Why were there four men and women, in the service of our Federal government, present at Newcomb Hollow on the Monday of Memorial Day?

Turns out the rangers were busy protecting piping plovers. A whole area near the dune had been cordoned off. One ranger was counting nests, or eggs in nests, or lack thereof.
Three men were verifying that no one had touched the invisible fence, laid out with stakes and string. They hammered the stakes in some more to be sure the piping plover nests were safe. I asked one of the men why they were working on Memorial Day. He told me rangers do not get holidays. Work, work, work. It’s nice to see the Federal government thinks to bring four vehicles onto the beach and employs four rangers for the difficult task of making sure our shore birds survive, don’t you think?