Saturday, September 1, 2012

Curtis Cove Report - Aug 22, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012. 8:54 AM, just before low-tide. 69 degrees, calm air, bright sun, no humidity. And clean air. Late spring's decaying seaweed has given way to wholesome sea breezes and a fresh, salty scent. This was a gorgeous morning. Not least because of sights like this:
Can anyone help me identify what this flower is?
and this:
"Painted Lady" or "False Monarch", Vanessa cardui
and this:
Canada geese, swooping in
Two V-formations of these Canada geese soared in from the south. Apparently some non-migratory populations in the mid-Atlantic still fly up north to molt off their old feathers at the end of summer. Seems to be what these were doing. They splashed & foraged on the far side of the cove, their honking and rustling good company on a lonely shore.

So much life. So much of it depending on places like Curtis Cove as stopovers and havens.

Which is why stuff like this is so troubling:
Every week, more & more washes in. No matter how calm the weather. As I explored this week, I noticed that big clumps of freshly-dragged wrack lined the back "lip" of the foreshore. Bigger bits like this balloon scrap were left high and dry amid the tumbled mass. And the receding tide had dragged much sand & smaller plastics back down the slope, smearing it among the pebbles & cobbles.

The shore, yet again, was a hazard zone of brightly colored, poison-tinged, sharp-edged, deadly plastics.

17 pcs of rope, about 15 ft total
282 pcs of non-rope debris
299 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 1 (plastic plank/slat offcut)
  • Foam/styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing rope/net: 17
  • Fishing trap gear: 167 (157 vinyl coating scraps, 4 bumpers, 4 genl trap parts, trap tag, bait bag)
  • Fishing misc.: 19 (18 clawbands, fishing line)
  • Food-related plastics: 21 (bottlecap outer seal, 16 cup scraps, food wrapper, JIF lid, silverware handle, old bread tag)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 1 (sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 24 (2 balloons, 8 bags/scraps, cigarette package, cigar tip, plastic glove, 2 bandaids, 6 cable ties, medicine blister pack, crate seal, bitten PUREX bottle bottom)
  • Scrap plastics: 45 (18 >1", 27 <1 li="li">
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 4 (ceramic shard, 2 cloth scraps, cord)
More of the usual. (Though "only" 157 pieces of trap vinyl this week.) With two standouts:
Badly worn & bitten PUREX
bottle bottom
Date: "08 10 06" -- Could this bread
wrapper be 6 years old??
Plastic is forever.

When I finished my collection, I wandered the usual rockpools at low tide. But then it occurred to me, most of the lower foreshore of Curtis Cove is a rockpool. Beneath its cobbled surface is a layer of poorly draining mud. When the tide goes out, it stays waterlogged & mucky. Turn over almost any cobble, and you'll find life. Like this:
Which is why it's so shameful that under -- or next to -- so many cobbles at Curtis Cove you also find plastic. Like the blue vinyl lobster trap coating scrap in the picture above.

Change the game.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 8463
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1793
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 3992

1 comment:

  1. My uneducated guess-Painted Lady. Have a photo of same creature (i think) in my latest blog posting