Monday, September 15, 2014

Blue Goose ~ Day 103

September 11, 2014 ~ Easton, MD to Shady Side, MD

I thought there was a Starbucks nearby, and there was, but it was in a grocery store with no tables / WiFi space....just coffee from a brusque, not very friendly young lady, almost unheard for a Starbuck's employee. 

But the coffee was good....yes, I probably am addicted to Starbuck's coffee...

Eastern Neck NWR is two hours north northwest of Easton, with even more of an off-by-itself feel  than most refuges, probably because it is an entire island. The small town of Rock Hill is five miles to the north. I drove over an old bridge, saw the refuge sign and parked to look out over the choppy waters of Chesapeake Bay. A couple was fishing and said there was water over the road to the refuge so they had turned around. Only a duck blind and a  couple of small fishing boats were visible. As always, when one approaches a refuge, signs of civilization and commerce diminish. Which I like...and birds are more immediately more abundant. 

I went on and there was water on the road but not that much.
Eastern Neck NWR - MD
A lovely dark brown cedar-shingled VC was staffed by women volunteers. As I walked in, I heard one of them say to whomever she was talking to on the phone: "I'll call you back; we have a visitor..." And then we talked for 15 minutes or so. She said it wouldn't take much for her also "to get sand in my shoes" when I told her what I was doing. She looked at me quizzically at one point after reading my name on the visitor log and asked if I were Anna Quindlen? She also wondered if I were a "Fitzgerald" as I reminded her of someone she knew who apparently is a Fitzgerald. (It's sort of digital: either people are interested and ask questions and seem envious or they barely acknowledge what I've said when I tell them what I'm doing.)

There is a national organization of Friends (of the refuges) who staff the gift shops, raise monies, volunteer time and are often the interface between the public and a particular refuge. So this woman was a Friend of Eastern Neck. Her sister from Pennsylvania was visiting and handing around also and then the buyer / manager showed up. It was as much of a social interlude as I have nowadays. 

I was somewhat apathetic at this refuge and half-heartedly drove the few roads open to the public, leery of the fly menace-annoynace and did, in fact, notice a few, but then found myself at the Butterfly Garden / Trail. I thought immediately of Deborah as I meandered on the paths, right on the edge of the Bay, with a variety of flowering plants, blue blue sky above and Northern Mockingbirds all over. I knew she would love this place.
Butterfly Garden - Eastern Neck NWR - MD
I walked the half mile trail first next to a meadow and then through woods, seeing two Ovenbirds, a Black and White Warbler, a Blue Jay, a Northern Parula (first of those on this trip)...more Mockingbirds, a Brown Thrasher...all foraging in this pretty habitat next to the Bay...sans flies or mosquitoes. Once again, I was glad I pushed myself just enough to get out of the car. On the way back to the main road, I watched three immature Bald Eagles fly around a small freshwater pond. Some of this refuge is contracted out and is farmed, so  part of the road wound between nearly dry corn stalks. 

Seaside Sparrow...still on my mind as I walked a short boardwalk over the salt marsh. I tried again and pished up (again) a curious Marsh Wren but no SS. Well, I tell myself, it's good to have a quest. 

I eBirded what I saw, the first time I've done that on this trip. 

Two hours later, and 30 minutes after crossing the beautiful Bay Bridge, I arrived in Shady Side, at the lovely bayside home of Faith and Bob. It was mid afternoon, very warm (too warm to sit in the sun on the end of the dock), so I found a comfortable chair on their screened porch, and settled in with a glass of wine and a book. Eventually, I soaked in a tub and scrounged in the kitchen for something to eat. After dinner, clean and somewhat revived, I headed to the dock again and just got comfortable when the rain began. But I was tired so chose a bedroom, opened the windows and slept soundly.

Blue Goose ~ Day 102

September 10, 2014 ~ Seaford, DE to Easton, MD

I'd been looking forward to Blackwater NWR because it is large and because of its name, now notorious for nefarious or necessary activities (depending on one's point of view) but these two entities are certainly at opposite ends of some undefined spectrum. 

The impressive Visitor Center had the usual mix of exhibits, written information, a book / gift store and a volunteer eager to inform the occasional interested person / people who stops here. Blackwater at one time was the home of Nanticoke and Choptank Indians but they were "driven out" in the mid 18th century (1750s) and "deforestation" began. Historically, it also was famous for muskrat trapping (for the fur). The gentleman at the desk told me that local muskrats had at one time been exported to Europe and that DNA testing today on European muskrats would prove that. 

(Also of note is Harriet Tubman's birthplace near Blackwater, recognized and honored with an educational center, a museum and a self-guided auto tour.)

I noticed that one of the exhibits featured Black Rails, one of the most elusive of American birds, a tiny rail that is seldom seen by anyone and usually identified when night...deep in a marsh.  (Maria always thought she had seen a Black Rail once and we often discussed the possibility.)

The deal here was huge flies...deer or horse or something else, but huge and numerous.
Huge fly on windshield - Blackwater NWR - MD
I drove with the windows tightly closed and it sounded like I was in a popcorn popper as they constantly clicking against the glass. I just now googled something like "large flies at Blackwater" and several posts mentioned them. Their presence would preclude anyone but the most intrepid from walking or cycling. This must be an intermittent invasion???? 

The bird presence was about 1% of the numbers I have been seeing at the refuges to the east...just a few egrets and an occasional Great Blue Heron, although without the fly distraction, I would have seen more in the woods I am sure. 

As I said, this is a large refuge but not much is accessible by car, so I went north to Easton, MD, where I stayed the night, eating at an Applebee's adjacent to the Walmart parking lot. 

Finished reading Valley of Amazement (Amy Tan) and liked it. This is a story set mostly in Shanghai 100 years ago and is complete with a beginning, middle and an ending. I skimmed a Jodi Picoult book (Mercy) wishing I hadn't spent the $10 to buy it. She has definitely written better books. 

Salt marsh - Blackwater NWR - MD

Blackwater NWR - MD

Blue Goose ~ Day 101

September 9, 2014 ~ Middletown, NJ to Seaford, DE

It wasn't far to Bombay Hook NWR from Middletown, but I had to detour. I had opted to take a scenic route and soon came on a sign "Water Over Road" but there wasn't, so I continued, however, several miles later saw another sign and there was...significant water. Hmmm....I started through, thinking it couldn't be THAT deep, but the van has very little clearance and I chickened out, backed up and stopped at the nearest house. A woman was taking clothes off the line. She said I should just "go through Smyrna so I wouldn't get stuck or stranded" like she had been asked this many times before. It was weird because in every other situation like this, there have been more warnings and barricades. With a truck, or maybe even with a Subaru, I would have gone on through. This was a fairly main route, not a dinky little barely travelled road so I guess locals are used to it.

Bombay Hook stems from "Bompies Hoeck," the name meaning "little-tree point" given to the wetlands by a Dutch settler who bought the area from Indians for one gun, four hands full of powder, three waistcoats, one anchor of liquor, and one kettle.
At the Visitor Center, a couple of women kindly allowed me to interrupt their conversation and answered my few questions. This refuge has an auto route, again through salt marshes and woods. Very quickly, I came on an elderly woman standing at a scope looking over thousands of shorebirds. The bugs, mercifully, were mostly absent at this particular spot, probably due to a good breeze. So I, too, got out  my scope and looked through Black-bellied Plovers, trying to find an American Golden Plover; moved briefly through the numerous peeps (small sandpipers) without attempting to ID all of them (most were Semipalmated SPs); and watching dozens of black and white-plumaged American Avocets in a feeding frenzy, moving quickly through the water, head low, bills scooping whatever it is they eat....
American Avocets - Bombay Hook NWR - DE

...more egrets, herons, gulls, eagles....and the Allee House.
Allee House - Bombay Hook NWR - DE


The Allee House, which is located on refuge property just east of the Dutch Neck Road/Route 9 intersection, is the refuge's historic treasure. It was built in the mid-1750's by Abraham Allee, the son of a French Huguenot (followers of Calvinism who were persecuted in France for their religious beliefs), and is considered to be among the finest examples of an early Delaware farmhouse. The house remained in the Allee family for several generations before it was sold in 1828 to pay off a legal debt. It was owned by several prominent Delaware families before being sold to the United States government in 1962. In 1971, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I continued south down the east side of Delaware to Prime Hook, NWR. It was late afternoon and the offices were closed so I just drove some of the refuge roads, seeing more shorebirds and egrets and gulls.
Egrets - Prime Hook NWR - DE
Right outside the refuge entrance on the east, on Delaware Bay, were three large realty signs. A couple of sports cars raced by me at high speed. But for now anyway, the birds have these places to rest, nest and replenish. The salt marshes are lovely in their visual simplicity...just grasses to the horizon with occasional meandering waterways.

Still searching for a Seaside Sparrow in this habitat....

I stopped at a Walmart in Georgetown which didn't measure up to my increasingly critical review so went on a few miles to Seaford, Delaware, where I spent the night.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blue Goose ~ Day 100

September 8, 2014 ~ Rio Grande City, NJ to Middletown, DE

I slept 100% better in my darkened spot but woke at 4:52, probably because I had set the alarm since I was going on a guided bird walk at 0730 at Cape May Meadows.


Situated at the southwest tip of the Cape May peninsula, The South Cape May Meadows Preserve, includes over 200 acres of critical habitat in the globally renowned birding hot spot of Cape May, NJ. The preserve is replete with dunes, freshwater wetlands, meadows, ponds, and a full mile of protected beach. The Cape May peninsula acts as a funnel for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway and the land protected there provides foraging and resting habitat for birds before they cross Delaware Bay. The preserve’s loop trail provides visitors with wildlife viewing opportunities in both a freshwater wetland and on an undeveloped beach, a rarity on the heavily developed Jersey shoreline. An estimated 300,000 visitors enjoy the preserve’s natural beauty each year.
Historic Connection:Just offshore, the remnants of the town of South Cape May lie scattered on the ocean floor. The Victorian Resort town, established in the 1840’s included a modest number of vacation cottages in its prime, but most were destroyed by a storm and overtaken by the ocean in the early 1950’s. The few homes that survived the storm were moved to new locations within West Cape May and Cape May City. Grazing cattle helped to maintain an open meadow following the town’s destruction. After the preserve was established by the Conservancy, and the cattle moved on to more nutritious pastures, the wetland and meadow were overtaken by the common reed, Phragmites a highly invasive plant.
Ecosystem Restored:The face of the preserve dramatically changed once again in 2004, when the Conservancy teamed with the Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to restore the Meadows freshwater wetland and beach ecosystems. The project area included both The South Cape May Meadows Preserve and the adjacent Cape May Point State Park, this project was the first of its kind undertaken in New Jersey and has been a marked success. The goal was to return the degraded landscape to a more productive, and natural state to benefit both the wildlife and the residents of local communities by adding protection from coastal flooding. Elements of the project included replenishment of an eroded beach, building up of the dunes, restoration of freshwater flow through the wetland, control of the invasive common reed Phragmites, creation of shorebird foraging and resting areas within the wetland, and installation of water control structures. While the process of re-engineering the wetland and beach was very intrusive, the ecosystem proved its resilience and has not only recovered, but flourished in the seven years since the completion of the project. When the preserve re-opened in June of 2007 it not only featured important enhancements for wildlife, but also amenities for visitors; including a gravel parking lot, information booth, improved trail system, and an observation platform.

I got coffee and a bagel and headed south. Pete Dunne and several other local members of the CMBO and NJ Audubon led the hike. It was overcast but warm enough...very pleasant for a couple of hours of birding. I also asked Mr. Dunne to sign one his books for me which, of course, he graciously did.

Birding hike at Cape May Meadows - NJ
There were about 25 of us, and it was perfect for me as I saw a life bird - the Prairie Warbler. We were on the trail at a slight rise near the beaches and someone behind said, "I've got a Prairie Warbler..." and I basically turned around, searched with verbal instructions ("see the large bush...and the dead brush in front; it's in the low flowering plant in front to the left of the dead bush....oops, now it dropped...oh, it just popped up to the right of that hole in the large bush...") and saw quick but adequate glimpses twice!
We also saw 50+ other birds, including a Lesser Black-backed Gull. These guided hikes are a pleasure. To see a life bird in the company of such illustrious birders and gentlemen as Pete Dunne and his friends on this early September morning at Cape May Meadows will always be a favorite story. Scott of "warbler book" fame was also along on this hike. Remember, DHC, the hike we took with the authors of that book at Magee in May?

A few of the dozens of ID tips:

Merlins: "dark and direct"
Merlin vs. Kestrel: "If that was a Merlin, we wouldn't still be talking about it" meaning they are FAST
Peregrine: "flies with elastic wing motion...very fluid"
Mixed flocks of Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers: "This time of year, Least are reddish; Semis are more grey"

Cooper's Hawk - Cape May Meadows - NJ
Pete was thanking people "for birding with me" as we left the parking lot.

(I laughed at signs announcing the October Lima Bean Festival. Cape May seems an unlikely venue for such...)

The rest of the morning and afternoon I drove up the west side of the peninsula through old small towns with names like Bivalve and Dividing Creek.

I stopped at the Cape May NWR headquarters and the manager immediately came out and was most friendly, answering any questions, not seeming the least bit bothered by the interruption and, in fact, as I was leaving he said, "Thank you for noticing the National Wildlife Refuges." He had worked at several others, putting in time on the high plains in North Dakota as a botanist, "dissecting sedges in motel rooms night after really isn't all that hard once you start doing it..." Although brief, this was one of the nicer encounters with personnel at a refuge. Cape May has a lot of property, but it is scattered and, except for the Great Cedar Swamp portion in the middle of the peninsula, these pieces are mostly non-contiguous. They are constantly acquiring more land as it becomes available or is donated as a nice piece of beach "down at the end of the road" was recently. This has to be so gratifying for anyone concerned with protecting habitat for wildlife.

Someone had told me a good place for Seaside Sparrows was the Cook Beach road, close to the Cape May offices. I spent an hour there waiting for one, looking out over the salt marsh, not seeing sparrows. I did watch an eagle chase an Osprey carrying a fish, and while the Osprey dropped it, the eagle didn't get it either. And a Marsh Wren popped up briefly very near the road. The barrier islands and beaches on the coast and large bays are either protected or developed or posted with realtor signs.  I think of the Pacific coast or much of the Great Lakes where, at least, the development is elevated significantly above the beaches. Here, so much is nearly at sea level.
Salt marsh - Cook Beach - NJ

Terns: Royal and Forster's - Cook's Beach - NJ

I got some really really awful food at a gas station: potato wedges and "jambalaya" which was dried out dirty rice with tired chunks of sausage and no liquid. Most went in the trash.

The last stop was at Supawna NWR near the bridge to Delaware. I only stopped briefly at a trailhead where two teenage boys seemed to be furtively doing something...with open car trunks. One rarely sees teenagers on the trails. The woods here were exceptionally dark and deep with tall trees and understory. Really dark and not exactly inviting on a gloomy afternoon. Supawna is also managed from the Cape May offices.

Once across the bridge, I got into massive high-speed traffic but exited soon in Middletown where I stayed for the night. The houses on the main streets are built flush with the sidewalk, just 20 feet or so from the street. Like bedrooms or living rooms are almost on the brick sidewalks. These are old homes. Where there is significant water (rivers or bays), one sees the oldest buildings.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue Goose ~ Day 99

September 7, 2014 ~ Rio Grande, NJ and back to Rio Grande NJ

I love the mornings after I find a place to get a bit cleaned up. The air is balmy, the sun rises now about 0630, people are off and about to work and school buses are everywhere.

Cape May is a birding mecca, perhaps most famous for the warbler migration in the spring. I didn't have particulars as to exactly where to go so just headed for Cape May Point State Park at the very tip of the peninsula since I had seen impressive eBird reports from that location.

Cape May (the town) was charming, a town where the brash Northeast meets the more gentile South...wonderful houses, generous porches with people actually sitting on them, old shade trees and bricks and falling leaves, people slowly strolling, small restaurants, flowers...

Of course it was slightly overcast and early morning and September so maybe it's crazy in the high days of summer.

There was no entrance fee at the State Park - just beaches, a lighthouse, hiking trails and the annual Hawk Watch in progress at the end of the parking lot, from a deck overlooking a pond. Several people with scopes and binoculars were scanning the skies, noting what they saw on a white board. I talked with Margeaux who told me all about the Cape May Observatory and what was going on and said I should to go talk to Pete Dunne who was also hawk watching and whom I had noticed immediately. I have read much of what he has written about birds and love his style. She and several other tanned and attractive young women were working seasonal jobs in Cape May for a few months.

I just don't go up to people easily, so was standing around absorbing the scene when Mr. Dunne approached and asked if I had any questions. We talked a few minutes, mostly about books. He recommended Hemingway's A Moveable Feast which he was re-reading. Just a very nice, very knowledgable and kind person, interested in people as much as birds, especially if those people also loved birding.
Hawk Watch - Cape May Point State Park - NJ

I walked the Blue trail. The fragrant Sweet Autumn Clematis had totally covered the trees and shrubs in some places. It is a native of Japan and beautiful but destructively invasive.
Blue Trail - Cape May State Park - NJ

Sweet Autumn Clematis - Cape May Point State Park - NJ
I didn't see birds in the woods; the action lately is the shorebirds and, here at Cape May, birds in the sky. I learned a lot about looking up and was amazed at the ID skills of these advanced birders who could immediately recognize both large (ospreys/hawks) and small (bobolinks/tree swallows) birds and who were very willing to answer questions or just carry on a running commentary on what they do....what to look for...what the differences to recognize distinctive field marks, flight and flap patterns, vocalizations...

I listened to an hour-long Raptor session, taught by two women, both of whom had recently graduated from college. This was a nice change from the usual male-dominated authorities at birding events. One of these girls had baby blue toenail polish and a toe-ring; they had pony tails and wore shorts...were young and tan and just beginning their post-college lives. And good at what they were doing. One had a large "quiet" tattoo of a Great-horned Owl in her thigh..."quiet" in that it was tasteful and not at all garish. Another girl grew up in Michigan and was here for two months working on Monarch butterfly research. Part of what she does is drive a specific route three time a day for a couple of months counting Monarchs. She had hoped to have a career in the Performing Arts and was expecting an internship at Sundance but that didn't happen. Since she had always loved butterflies / caterpillars and had, in fact, raised 500 of them in her room on her parents' farm one summer, she thought about what she would really like to to, so she began researching, got this job and loves it of course. Who wouldn't? Cape May is wonderful...beaches, birds and butterflies, ongoing interesting informal teaching, great birders, good seafood, perfumed air, sunshine, and a variety of coastal flora.

As I was leaving the parking lot, I heard a loud clashing, clunking noise and saw that a tree had snatched a bicycle from the top of a car as it drove under low hanging branches. Funny for an observer but embarrassing and worrisome for the owner. With the help of bystanders, he retrieved it. I think it was OK.

Tree-snatching bicycle - Cape May Point SP - NJ
There is also a Cape May NWR, widely separated pieces of land all over the peninsula. One part is the Two Mile Beach on the Atlantic side, just north of Cape May. I first drove too far and ended in Wildwood, a misnomer if ever there was one, as the town was buzzing with motorcycles and people and high rises and cars and noise - a typical tourist venue. But I found the refuge, most of which is closed to the public to protect the birds, but one could walk a small trail through the dense scrub to the beaches. The sun was brilliant; it was warm; there were ocean breezes and only a few other people were here on this protected land between Coast Guard property to the south and zuzu-land to the north.
Cpae May NWR - NJ

A small group doing "research on body mechanics" was set up under a sun umbrella at the trailhead with 20 Tupperware containers of little crabs and high tech recording devices. The crabs would scuttle about in front of a mirror and something somehow was being recorded.

A woman was digiscoping on another short trail by a salt marsh. We got to talking, and I mentioned wanting to see a Prairie Warbler. She said she had photographed one that morning at the State Park, hanging out in the Sweet Autumn Clematis on the Blue trail, so I went back and hung around there an hour but dipped.

I walked on Higbee Beach, seeing Black Scoters out on the water, stopped by the Cape May Meadows site and went to the Cape May Observatory Nature Store where I bought an Arizona birding book, a book on searching for the Ivory-bill Woodpecker in Florida and a lens-cleaning pen.

Sanderlings - Higbee Beach - NJ

DHC: This all was a bit like Magee with a constant low buzz about when and where and a couple of recent rarities were a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Western Kingbird and a White-winged Dove (memories of Texas for me, just hearing that bird mentioned). Smart phones occasionally rang, keeping the local birders informed.

I finally went back to the Walmart in Rio Grande as I had checked out exactly where to park so I wouldn't be all lit up, so to speak. Since there was a Starbucks in the adjacent parking lot, I settled in for a couple of hours, eating a delicious brown rice / veggie salad for dinner and working on this blog, always trying to get my impressions down before I forget details.

Blue Trail - Cape May Point State Park - NJ

Blue Goose ~ Day 98

September 6, 2014 ~ Absecon, NJ to Rio Grande, NJ

One more trip around Edwin B. Forsythe NWR.....feeling drawn to its beauty and bounty. I saw the American Avocet again, drove more quickly and didn't take as many photos. There were more people out and about, including a couple of Audubon groups since this was Saturday. And did no see the Hudsonian Godwit, but I will, I will....
American Avocet and Laughing Gulls - Edwin B. Forsythe NWR - NJ

Early afternoon, I headed south to the Cape May area but stopped 10 miles north of the tip of the peninsula in (of all places) Rio Grande, NJ. There were many campgrounds hereabouts, but all were geared toward RVs, families and long stays and were more than I wanted to pay. My Walmart app said the store in Rio Grande would not allow overnight parking. I asked anyway and was told I could park next to the "TLE." I asked what TLE was a couple of times but with my not so acute hearing and her accent I never did figure it out until I drove in the direction she indicated and saw "Tire Lube Express." Ah....

It was still very warm and humid so I parked in the shade, opened the windows and cooled off with a nice breeze coming through, reading and relaxing until I heard thunder with huge dark clouds in the west. The storm eventually did move through, mostly to the north, and I eventually moved to a better place with more people as the TLE lot was empty and dark. I slept fitfully; it rained intermittently, so I had to close the windows and suffered from the closed-in muggy heat. Even with the windows open a tiny bit, the water comes in. And my new place was too well lit. I was grumpy and again wondered about my sanity. But, tomorrow is another day....

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Blue Goose ~ Day 97

September 5, 2014 ~ Mays Landing, NJ to Absecon, NJ

I just had to return to Edwin B. Forsythe NWR and tried to get there at sunrise but was an hour late. Not that is really mattered. Shorebirds aren't like woodland birds in that they forage and hang out no matter what the time of day.

The auto route is a large rectangle although one goes through woods on the west end. The east, north and south legs are through the salt marsh. The light was better than yesterday afternoon as it was lower in the sky.
Snowy Egret at Edwin B....notice golden slippers

I again drove about 5 mph, stopping frequently. The sky was blue with fluffy white clouds; the marsh grasses almost golden in places, with rich natural colors and hundreds of tiny waterways or large open watery areas, exposed mud flats, size depending on the tides, the one-way road and all the birds but not much else. I thought how Maria would have loved this place.

At one little sandy beach, there was a bird acting totally hyper, running back and forth very fast in both directions. It reminded me of a tiny Lesser Yellowlegs but it was too small. The giss was "phalarope" but I have never seen phalaropes on land. However, that's was it was, confirmed by this eBird report:

eBIRD.ORG (submitted by Mason Sieges on 09/05/2014 from Edwin B. Forsythe
[Wilson's Phalarope was} running feeding along north dike between goose marker 12 and dog leg. Feeding on sandbar where several Caspian terns were roosting. Feeding in typical phalarope fashion. A long legged shorebird smaller than a lesser yellowlegs with pale upper and lower parts and the back was slightly darker gray than the underparts. No dark smudge behind the eye as in red-necked phalarope, although it did appear a little smaller than I remember from my WIPH sighting this past spring.
It looked like he had taken photos with an iPhone through a scope. I have better ones. And two were reported on 09/07 described a feeding "actively if not maniacally.."

(I have to wonder if anyone is interested enough to follow this birding trivia...but I felt that spotting this bird and recognizing it was something unusual and then having it confirmed with photos and comments on eBird is rewarding and fun.)

Wilson's Phalarope at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR - NJ
I bought yet another birding guide in the Visitor Center - Kenn Kaufmann's - in part because I like the way he thinks about birds and birding and in part because no one can have too many bird guides.

The bird I did not see was the Hudsonian Godwit which has been seen here several times this week. DHC, remember that this bird was also at Chincoteague, mixed in with the Marbled Godwits?

There were only occasional cars but the road was wide enough to easily pass if one wanted.
Terns, skimmers and gulls at Edwin B.

I found a good deal at a Best Western about 10 miles from the refuge for $50 and worked, having my leftover pasta stuff from the night before for dinner. It was a balmy night; the Internet access was fast and without problems and I had the windows open. It was very peaceful.

Before going to bed, I soaked in the Jacuzzi and washed my hair well, getting out all the bug debris.