|Canada Geese winging past historic Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse; circa 1883|
Today my Nephew Kirk drove us over the Chesapeake Bridge over to Sandy Point State Park. There was a guard at the entrance... of a sort.
|Loiterer by the Entrance Station|
The first thing we noticed entering the park was it is full of light structures, used in the park's annual Holiday season light display. Many of the displays I guess use animation, such as a lit froggie that leaps up and over to a lily pad - a 5 foot long froggie. I know Kirk will be back with wife and kids to see the show.
I was rather surprised by the sand at Sandy Point - it was sandy, yes, but it was quite yellow in color and not at all like west coast sand. I guess it'd be too expensive to take it all up and replace it with San Francisco grade white sand.
|View of the Chesapeake & Bridge, From the Sandy Point beach|
Certainly, I was the only one fussy about the sand. There were loads of others at Sandy Point who were busy, albeit on a November day, soaking up some rays.
|Sandy Point is good for a little sunning|
|Others prefer a game of volley ball|
Birdwise, I strolled along a berm by the shore, and watched Bluebirds and Tufted Titmouses fluttering busily about. My primary target was - it being a bay - was shorebirds. My shorebird count for the day was three; these lovely little Sanderlings that probed a floating pine tree off shore. The birds were pretty far from shore, but I'm reasonably sure they were Sandies.
|Sanderlings afloat on a fallen log|
The most numerous bird on the shore - ignoring the Ring-billed Gulls, and a tiny number of Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gulls - were hunting Eastern Bluebirds. They were everywhere, sallying after what must have been a meager amount of insects and landing in the grasses. Why haven't these lazy migrants headed south yet? Apparently the Bluebirds were not impressed by last weekend's snow storm.
|Bayside Eastern Bluebird|
|Flick, flick, flick, this buck's tail was a traffic signal for the others|
|The Mama doe flicked her tail quite a bit too|
I was a bit surprised the White-tails were out in broad daylight, meandering about like they owned the place, which, if you ignore we silly humans, they do.
|What... and where are you going young fawn?|
|Keep your hooves on Ma, I'm checking out these light thingies|
The deer floor, or rather, lawn show was great entertainment. We wended our way back to the car which took us past a beautiful historic mansion with a long sweeping driveway, a little under the weeds, but still impressive. Later I read the house is under reconstruction, returning it to its 1700s roots when it was HQ for a farm. Currently it's a private residence - for someone immune to drafts I reckon.
|Grand Sandy Point Mansion|
Having time for one more stop, Kirk headed for the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, which is a large conservation reserve. There were was trail you could drive or walk - guess which one I went for?
|Boardwalk at the end of the trail - must have great rail watching|
There were, as expected lots of wet, loads of marshland and a surprisingly modest number of Canada Geese and a Great Blue Heron and Great Egret or two.
|Lovely Loblolly Pine Hammock in the Marsh|
|Kirk headed in to check out the Visitor Center|
The Environmental Center was modest but well equiped with a spotting scope and many pairs of binoculars and more importantly, loads of turtles and birds to stare at.
|Uh... not one of the turtles I mentioned - this one regulates wayward refuge visitors|
|This girlie Northern Cardinal liked under the feeder more than being on the feeder|
For me a trip to the east coast isn't complete without seeing some Blue Jays, which I always say are bird # 1 on my ABA area life list. The jays are one of the prettiest birds anywhere in my opinion.
|Hyper Blue Jay|
|To shell a seed, place it between your toes and POUND it!|