“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” ― Rachel Carson
Race Point Beach in Provincetown, MA, on the tip of Cape Cod, is very much at the edge of the sea. The day I visited, last September, a hurricane was coming up the coast and expected to cause big weather the next day;
shorebirds and planes alike were scurrying, the planes taking off one after another from the small Provincetown airport —
— the birds, many in flocks of hundreds and thousands, flapping just offshore or making a feast of the many small dead fish washed up on the beach …
There were birds that most likely wouldn’t have been here had not the storm been brewing, like ruddy turnstones:
Not sure whether this is a juvenile sanderling or juvenile red knot — the folks at Birds of the Eastern US thought perhaps a red knot:
These are the poor fish washed up by the thousands:
Just saw scads of shorebirds here! So many sanderlings, gobs of gulls, tons of terns, plenty of plovers —
A few other beach sights:
The visitors’ center is simple, and remote.
Part of the Beech Forest Trail, which we didn’t have much time to explore this trip:
Even in mid-September, there were flowers, fruits, and fungi to see:
But the shorebirds were really the show today, as the storm began to blow in. That’s one of the reasons beaches are endlessly fascinating: every day is noticeably different from another. That’s true, of course, anywhere, but it’s so obvious on the shore, on the edge.
I wonder where all those birds are now.