Monday, July 18, 2016

Sticky mud, sticky flowers

The Oyster Bay Shoreline Park stretches along a narrow strip between the highway and the ocean. The beach is stony and steep, difficult to walk on, but a good place to sit on a log and listen to the waves rolling in.

At the northern end, protected from the rush of water in the channel by a rocky spit, is the slough, with its ancient, rotted pilings left over from a long defunct marina; now they hold nest boxes for purple martins. The slough is bare mud at low tide, gluey, foot-swallowing mud. It looks solid enough until you step on it; under the crust, it oozes. A skin of rotting seaweed covers large patches, and the whole area stinks. Shorebirds love it.

The inner end of the slough. Somehow, without the stink, it looks prettier. Assorted peeps are foraging in the shallow water. The pilings with nest boxes are off to the left, in the deepest mud. I tried to walk closer to the birds, but the mud wanted to keep my shoes, so I gave up.

From the pathway above the water line, looking down on a piling housing an adventurous elderberry shrub.

Between the parking lot and the slough is a dry, flat plain covered with dry, often prickly plants. Signs at intervals warn us off; some of these plants are rare, some are sensitive.

I've been spending time recently sitting or kneeling on the moss and stones, looking at plants, some thigh-high, others in mats fingertip deep.

The most obvious at this time of year is the bright-flowered gumweed:

Gumweed, Grindelia stricta. Grows on dry land or sea shores. Salt tolerant.

The white exudate on the buds is really sticky.

Half closed at the end of the day.

Typical gumweed plant, this one among the driftwood lining the beach.

Tomorrow, an unusual clover.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!