crossing over the dune

9.10.22 ~ Napatree Point Conservation Area

Every once in a while a hurricane churning away out in the Atlantic sends some big waves as far as Napatree Point, so we went there to see what Hurricane Earl might be sending our way. The waves weren’t so big after all, about 3′ according to a surfing website. (In 2020 Hurricane Teddy sent 6.5′ waves!) But we still had a good time at this wonderful beach on Saturday, enjoying the September sunshine and sea air.

driftwood #1
driftwood #2 (made me think of a hippopotamus)
driftwood #3
driftwood #4

After walking part way down the beach on the Atlantic side of the Napatree Point peninsula, we crossed over the dune on the indicated path to enjoy beach roses and the views. Rhode Island is still in an extreme drought. Ours is still severe, in spite of the recent rains.

beach rose hip
beach rose
more beach roses to bloom
a very busy bee

Tim spotted a bird on one of the ropes marking off the path. A new life bird for me!

Yellow Warbler, #74

Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia: Common widespread migratory breeder April to September in brushy thickets of river-edge forest, wetland edges, moist power-line cut segments, and open woodland.
~ Frank Gallo
(Birding in Connecticut)

These pictures were taken with the zoom lens and were the best I could do at a distance. The warbler did seem to love flitting about on the brushy beach rose thickets.

North America has more than 50 species of warblers, but few combine brilliant color and easy viewing quite like the Yellow Warbler. In summer, the buttery yellow males sing their sweet whistled song from willows, wet thickets, and roadsides across almost all of North America. The females and immatures aren’t as bright, and lack the male’s rich chestnut streaking, but their overall warm yellow tones, unmarked faces, and prominent black eyes help pick them out.
~ All About Birds webpage

looking from the dune and across Little Narragansett Bay
to the village of Watch Hill, Rhode Island
white beach rose in the shadows
looking back at the dune from the bay side of the peninsula

The beach on the bay side of the dune is a little different from the one on the ocean side. Little Narragansett Bay is a small estuary and serves as a harbor for the village of Watch Hill.

driftwood #5
things the tide left behind
heading out for a sail
eastern juniper (?) and dune grass

We walked for over an hour and felt very refreshed. There is nothing quite like the sounds of crickets and of waves crashing, the smells of salt air and beach roses, the sighting of a new bird and the feel of sunlight warming the skin!

45 thoughts on “crossing over the dune”

  1. Photos from your walks speak to my soul. I like the driftwood pic. There’s something timeless about it, as if you can say “same as it ever was…” and know it to be true.

    1. So true, there is definitely something timeless about driftwood lying on the sand. I often have moments of transcendence when I’m on a beach, the crashing waves bring glimpses of eternity…

  2. Looks like you had a perfect day for this stroll, Barbara! I love all the beach roses (that white one is especially stunning), and what a pretty warbler. He almost looks like he was a willing subject for your shots!

    1. It sure was a perfect day, Debbie! I’m fond of that white beach rose, too, they are not as common as the pink ones. The warbler was an exciting find, even if it had its back to the sun, keeping most of its features in the shade. I kept wishing it would turn around so I could get a better picture!

    1. It was a wonderful morning, Peggy. I think we spent more time on the dune with the beach roses, birds, bees and crickets than we did on the beach itself. 🙂

  3. The beach looked really calm for a hurricane to be ‘out there’.
    Yay for the Life Bird; he was cute!
    I also thought the driftwood looked like a beached hippo.

    1. The hurricane was way out there, smack in the middle of the Atlantic, on its way to Portugal. These waves were not spectacular as some we’ve seen in the past have been. Still, they brought in some large chunks of driftwood. 🙂

  4. This post feels so romantic, Barbara.

    Lovely yellow warbler photos and one more to your bird bank.

    I wonder what if any Hurricane Earl would send your way. I watched it take its track quite a distance away from you. Fun to see on your gorgeous morning walk.

    I can see the hippo too and I see an alligator in driftwood #5.

    1. Thank you, TD. Now that you mention it, #5 does look like an alligator. 🙂 That one looks like it’s been there a quite a while, all settled into the sand. It’s been a remarkably quiet hurricane season, we should probably enjoy that while it lasts. I was excited to see the yellow warbler, although I had to wait until I got home to identify it.

      1. My fingers are crossed for a continued quiet hurricane season!

        Here, we went from severe drought to swamp in a few days. I’ve considered myself a nature person, but recently I’m questioning myself.

        1. I often say that nature is as brutal as it is beautiful. A few weeks ago I heard the term ‘weather whiplash’ to describe these unexpected drastic shifts in temperature and humidity and rainfall. I think we’re in for a very rough ride…

  5. What a wonderful walk Barbara. I never walk on beaches, though I buy a state park pass every year to try to visit one, so I am envious when I see your beach walk photos. I worry to go to Detroit to Belle Isle State Park/Beach because of all the freeway shootings (we had another one last night – we have about five per month) and I vow to to try to get to Sterling State Park this Fall if at all possible. I like the two shades of beach roses and the different drift wood, especially the one that looks like a hippo. Years ago my neighbor used to go to a cabin up north for hunting and fishing and used to look for driftwood for the yard. This was back in the early 90s and some of it is still in good shape where other pieces have since disintegrated. The shapes and sizes of that driftwood enhanced the garden. I love that yellow warbler and how lucky you caught him perching on a rope that matched his plumage!

    1. It would be so much fun to take a beach walk with you, Linda. I can just imagine it. 🙂 I do hope you get a chance to get to Sterling State Park this year. I once stood on a shore of Lake Ontario while doing genealogy research in New York state. I remember it looked just like the ocean with waves but it smelled like a pond, with no salt in the air. I was struck by that. It is interesting how some wood rots faster than other kinds. Occasionally we’ve seen whole telephone poles lying on the beach. I understand your neighbor collecting the driftwood. I have several small pieces of it in my own garden. Noticing the yellow warbler was the icing on the cake. 🙂

      1. A beach walk would find our mouths going a mile a minute and lots of “oohs” and “aahs” and shutters clicking away Barbara. I never thought about the salt water permeating the air as opposed to lakes and rivers that I am used to seeing. My neighbor retired very young and had a lot of time to go fishing and he would be proud of the driftwood he collected for me, as well as large rocks he’d find. Every time he had relatives or friends visit him, he’d point out my garden and driftwood and big rocks he’d found and hauled home for me. I do miss him – he was like a father to me as he and his wife moved in right after my father left so he helped us/me with many things and was a good teacher.

        I am thinking a trip to Sterling State Park to see the colors would be nice. I was with my parents as a young teen when we went for a Sunday drive, but have not been back since. This is another venue where the plein air artists have gone to paint, so they featured some parts of the park in their work in the Facebook group I am in.

        1. Mouths going a mile a minute — sounds like so much fun! It sounds like your neighbor was a very kind man, what a gift it was to have him in your life. How far away is Sterling State Park? It must be beautiful if the plein air artists appreciate its beauty. We missed all the art shows this summer for one reason or another but I do love seeing all the paintings, especially the outdoor/nature ones. Would you like to connect on Facebook? I’m the Barbara Rodgers with the blue dragonfly…

          1. Yes, it would be fun Barbara. Yes, Jim was very special and a good friend to both my mom and me. Sterling State Park is a 50-mile roundtrip for me – same to take surface streets as the expressway. I would only take the expressway. I will send you a friend request for Facebook. I never post anything so I am kind of boring. I comment on a few nature sites or the Old Dogs Sanctuary or Michigan Duck Sanctuary which have public profiles but that is about all. I will send it now – I meant to change my profile and cover shot today for Fall. I have used the Mad Bluebird all Summer. 🙂

          2. I don’t post much on Facebook, either. I’d probably close my account but I stay there so I can read Heather Cox Richardson’s and Joan Tollifson’s posts and watch “Tea with a Druid.” Or get help identifying a bird on “What’s this Bird?” And keep up with local happenings at the arboretum, seaport and nature center, etc. Sometimes I think Facebook is like cars, we can’t live with them or without them… That mad bluebird was awfully cute!

          3. I may have written two messages to you yesterday, but that was unusual. Of my “friends” on Facebook, I really only keep up with one and she is a person I rode the bus with decades ago. She sent me a message about two months ago and said “you are quiet on FB – why?” She is retired. I said I meander to FB during work if I’m bored so I don’t have so much to catch up on after work as I am always behind re: blogging. But I said I don’t comment on public posts during the work day. So she asked if I could send her blog posts by FB, so now she comments on them via FB.. The rest of my FB “friends” I have turned off notifications and only check two of their FB walls. One posts all day long, whining about having no time (the solution is less FB). 🙂 A lot of FB friends are Marge’s friends and relatives – who followed me because of Marge. I like following the crime/goings on in the City and nature/park sites. I also like “Birds and Blooms” and the Detroit Audubon Society.

            I reached out to “What’s This Bird” a few weeks ago – I meant to mention it to you as I know you reach out to them. I had a bird pic that I had no idea what it was; it was sitting in the spiderwebs. I learned that mystery bird was a Juvenile European Starling. A nice group of people answered within minutes. I had no idea … it was not glossy, nor was it singing. I love that mad bluebird picture too!

          4. Glad you found the “What’s this Bird?” group. 🙂 They are the nicest people, no judging, just helpful no matter how simple the question. Most of my friends rarely or never post on Facebook but a few relatives post constantly. I don’t know what a good balance might be… I usually check in once a day, early in the morning, but rarely comment or post.

          5. Yes, they were very nice. I also “met” a nice group a year or so ago when I tried to identify tracks in the snow. Everyone had a “go” at it, trying to guess and inevitably it was decided it was a heron. I’ve seen the heron cross the creek on ice, but never in snow – I would think it would hurt its feet.

          6. Yes it is … speaking of birds on their feet. I just told Peggy, our mutual blogging friend, about Jocelyn Anderson, the photographer who photographs birds feasting from her palm. I just went to FB and got the link to send it to Peggy if she’s on Facebook and you had liked one of the videos. I watched her videos on Twitter and stopped because my Feed was clogged with every other birder … I think I may follow her at FB instead. I just watched a cute chickade pause before grabbing a safflower seed or sunflower heart seed.

          7. Oh yes, I do love Jocelyn Anderson’s videos! I’m not on Twitter but have enjoyed following her on Facebook for quite some time. It’s fun watching the little birds making decisions about which seeds to grab. I wonder what their little feet would feel like gripping my fingers or palm.

          8. Her videos are the best Barbara, whether she runs them fast or slow. I am just going to watch them there on FB now. If I commented on Twitter, all the birders’ posts would automatically clog up my feed, so I stopped. Yes, the Chickadees often stand there pondering about one seed. I always liked her fun way of writing about the videos or pictures. Jocelyn goes to Kensington Metropark every morning. I would love to go there and it is one of the parks on my Metropark pass, but it is not near me and you have to take a very busy expressway where they drive way over the speed limit.

            I follow the local Wild Birds Unlimited on Facebook as I know the owner – he was my HVAC tech for years, then he got bad knees and decided to buy a store. He and his wife go to Kensington Metropark and he took videos of him putting the same mix (she uses a Wild Birds Unlimited mix) in his palm and he attracted chickadees. I guess if you go to one area, the birds will come to you. I would love to try to do that at the Park – what fun that would be near the Safe Haven Tree. I can’t imagine how that feels with their tiny feet gripping on your hand, especially the Mourning Dove or Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

          9. I had no idea she was in Michigan, I guess I wasn’t paying attention when I started following her. I don’t blame you for avoiding expressways. In the summer here we avoid the interstate as much as possible, not wanting to get caught in a traffic jam or be involved in any of the numerous accidents. We have a Wild Birds Unlimited about a 20 minute drive from us. When I had a bird feeder we used to go there all the time. I love that store. It would be fun to get some bird seed and sit still to wait for some birds to come to me. Maybe I could do that on my balcony. When I’m out walking I don’t want to sit and wait because getting exercise is the main reason we go!

          10. There is way too much craziness going on these days on the roads here in SE Michigan Barbara. I was driving last week when this vehicle started weaving in/out between cars, barely leaving a foot between cars as he switched lanes, sometimes two lanes at a time. I got off Fort Street as quickly as I could from that erratic driving – it was around 9:15 a.m. on a weekday, driving back from my allergy shots on my way to the Park. The shootings on the expressway will keep me off there likely to the end of my driving days.

            I am going to try again this weekend to go to Sterling State Park – any issues with construction, I will consider it a “sign” and I shouldn’t go – crazy I know, but I’ve planned four or five times to go and something comes up. I can live without it, though I pay for a state park pass on my driver’s license for $11.00 annually and I am not driving up north nor to Detroit to visit Belle Isle.

            I remember on Jocelyn’s website she told how people could try to get their backyard birds to come to them. I just found the link and will send it to you. I think Phil at Wild Birds Unlimited was going to try to get Jocelyn to come give a talk at their store, but I’ve seen nothing about it yet. I would think he’d do a video if people can’t make it. I think the Wild Birds Unlimited treats are a real magnet for birds. Joclyn often mentioned what those bird favorites were – the suet balls and Bark Butter bites. That Bark Butter you smear on trees – all WBU’s “treat’s” are pricey, but if you have birds landing on your hand, I’d say it is well worth it. I’ll send the link in a separate comment in case it goes to SPAM.

          11. Shootings on the expressway are frightening. We haven’t had that around here but we do have erratic and aggressive drivers on the interstate, which we tend to avoid, taking the long routes on the secondary roads. And it seems like there is a daily accident involving a big rig. It’s too bad you have to navigate traffic on the weekends to visit the state park. The traffic is much more mellow on weekdays.

            I used to put suet cakes for the suet feeder we got at Wild Birds Unlimited. Loved watching the woodpeckers visit it on my balcony. Some of the seeds embedded in the suet would fall onto the balcony where chickadees, titmice and juncos would be waiting patiently to partake. Wish they didn’t bother my neighbor. I miss those days…

          12. We had another freeway shooting yesterday Barbara and, unlike the other shootings, this was was in the late afternoon, not when it was dark. The person who was injured was driving a van and the bullet went through and hit him in the back. He is in stable condition now. He said the driver had a black Ford F-150 pickup truck. That’s a pretty common vehicle and yesterday going to Sterling State Park (finally, after three years of thinking about it), it was highway driving of 45 to 50 mph and I was going the speed limit and I was honked at repeatedly by a guy in a black Ford F-150 pick-up truck. I wouldn’t connect the two but it happened about 20 miles from where I was.

            I would not go on the expressway for anything now and am going to hire a driver for when I have to go to the Immigration Bureau to renew my green card in late 2024. I am already worrying about it and I will not be driving myself in Detroit and will ask him/her to take surface streets.

            The stupidity on the roads is just out of control anymore – everyone drives with an attitude and there are some days I suspect that if things continue, at some point I’ll just go to my regular park and do errands and forget the rest. I won’t like that but the world is just getting too crazy out there.

            I got such pleasure out of feeding the birds and hated that I had to stop due to the new neighbor who left his dog outside 24/7/365 and fed it table scraps.

          13. My goodness, it sounds like the wild west out there! I don’t blame you one bit for avoiding the expressway. The prospect of driving in Detroit seems to be as treacherous as I would find it to drive in New York City, which I haven’t done in decades. I haven’t even done much driving locally since relying on Tim for driving these days.

          14. There was another shooting Friday night and a person died. They didn’t mention that until today. Detroit, for all its revitalization they crow about (all since I left in 2009), this flurry of shootings is sure nothing to crow about, but rather be ashamed about.

          15. Thanks for this, Linda. I found one of the tips very interesting, that wearing sunglasses hides your eye movement, which can spook birds. Most of the time on my walks I’m wearing sunglasses. I’m going to see if I notice a difference in the birds’ behavior when I’m not wearing them. Not sure what my neighbors would think if I put a prop of myself out on the balcony!

          16. I thought that was interesting too Barbara. At a glance, the neighbors might think it was a predator and worry they were breaking in – didn’t you have glass sliding doors? I remember you showed the mounting snow when you had a snowstorm and Tim had recorded the snowfall during the day … it might have been a window. I wouldn’t have thought eye movements could make a bird get spooked either. I wear eyeglasses and they darken so not a problem there, but on a gray day, they don’t darken that much. I hope that works and you can attract birds. Sorry your neighbors are not bird fans. The joy of birdsong and/or a beautiful or cute bird looking at you while enjoying the seeds you provide gives such satisfaction.

          17. Yes, those are sliding glass doors opening to the balcony. I probably won’t put a prop of myself out there, instead will content myself with watching the birds who stop by occasionally. Since the petunias worked so well attracting a few hummingbirds I might look into plants that might attract winter songbirds in smaller numbers.

          18. That’s a good idea Barbara – follow “Birds and Blooms on Facebook”. I’ll share a link to you. I had a subscription for years and cancelled it after I lost so many plants and no longer had a butterfly garden.

          19. Well, I couldn’t find you on Facebook – scrolled up and down and then searched for you with your state … still no luck. I can try again or if you want to send me a friend request – I am now a scarecrow. Just changed it for Fall which arrived minutes ago.

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