Sunday, November 12, 2006

East Beach, Charlestown, RI

I had some free time on this overcast and foggy Sunday afternoon, so I drove down to East Beach in Charlestown, RI.
It's a barrier beach that has a salt pond on one side and the ocean on the other. It's a couple miles long with a sandy road down the middle usable by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Here's a view of the salt pond side:

And the road down the middle:

And the ocean side:

Since it was a fairly iffy day weather-wise, the parking lot was completely empty and for long stretches of time I had the beach completely to myself. There were only a couple people fishing scattered along the several mile length of the beach. There were lots of deer tracks along the edge of the road down the middle of the beach, but I never spotted any deer. I did manage to sneak up on this log and catch its picture:

There were a few sanderlings running about on the beach. These birds tend to stay along the edge of the surf, waiting for a wave to crash, quickly running along the edge of the wave as it retreats, picking up little things to eat.

I'm not really sure why, but for some reason these things liked to stand on one leg quite a bit of the time. They would even go so far as to hop on that one leg rather than walk with both legs. At one point I thought maybe the birds were missing legs, but later I saw them with both feet on the ground.

I took quite a few pictures of the sanderlings...

Since this is a barrier beach, they restrict where you are allowed to walk, as can bee seen in this picture - the small sign
says, "Keep off dune". Oddly, they don't seem to mind that fisherman drive 4 wheel drive trucks up and down the beach. They actually issue permits allowing this. You'd think that would contribute to erosion a lot more than people walking.


l said...

what a great spot, thanks for the pics....lucky you to live so close

DB said...

Beauties Brian.
The dune grass often contains endangered species of grasses. The sand has a high salt content, low nutrient value, physical instability and inability to retain moisture. Ability to handle this along with full sun and drying winds make this grass unique. Just look at the dead stretches of grass along peoples lawns in the Spring after road salt does it's job. This is special grass!

JD said...

Nice pics. We have those same sanderlings on the beaches out here in Santa Monica! I love watching them dart in and out, and have taken many pics of them myself. I didn't know their name and looked it up shortly after we moved out here. I never noticed them in RI - I just didn't get to the beach enough. I never noticed that the sanderlings stand on one leg, but I have noticed other types of sandpipers doing that, and several times thought the bird in question was injured or maimed before I realized my mistake. Just really funny that your observations were so similar to mine!

Linda said...

East Beast? Typo or did you leave something out of your story? Is there a monster lurking in the beach grass that I can't see?

Mostly Torn said...

I have no idea what you are talking about, Linda. Perhaps you are hallucinating?