Thursday, March 12, 2015

March Thaw at the Beach

Finally! After seven weeks of shoveling from snowstorms at least once each six or seven days, we are finally having a spring thaw. The time change, strong sunshine, melting of the one-foot-deep ground cover and the reappearance of birds and small wild animals makes it feel like we have finally turned the corner.

Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, RI.

It will be a while before we see green grass, but just having days where the temperature gets over 40 degrees inspires one to venture out. So I visited a couple of favorite Rhode Island spots to see what I could discover. Despite some huge puddles from the snowmelt and various potholes and muddy spots, I managed to get to two areas: Blue Shutters beach in Charlestown, RI, and Watch Hill in Westerly, RI.

Most of the snow was melted from Blue Shutters, and the sand was easy to walk on. The water was clear and beautiful, as always, and I found a giant oyster shell.

Frozen Watch Hill bay in Westerly, RI.

Over in Watch Hill, the bay behind the yacht club was still full of ice and snow. The wind was quite chilly so I didn't venture over the dune to the beach. Often if the sun is strong it feels great inland, but once you get by the shore the wind is pretty brutal and you still have to bundle up. All there is to see right now are the empty, closed-up summer shops and a few other passing visitors. Sometimes summer seems such a long way off.

This week the first piping plover was spotted on the beach at Napatree Point Conservation Area, a sure sign of spring nesting season. With the upcoming equinox, Old Man Winter may finally retreat back North for good.