Featured Beach: ME_50

1 05 2009

me_50Seanetter Marleen Szymanski has been patrolling ME_50, also known as Crescent and Seapoint beaches, in southern Maine since January 2008. As is common in Maine, Marleen’s beach is quite rocky, with substantial amounts of sand exposed only at low tide.

The beach is open to residents only, and as a result, may experience less human visitation than some more public beaches. However, dogs are permitted on the beach year-round, and Marleen reports that canine companions are very frequent beach-goers there. SEANET is interested in comparing this factor from beach to beach, as we wonder what impact dogs may have on carcass detection–do dogs disturb carcasses, digging them out of the wrack and making them easier to find? or do they bury some carcasses, keeping them from view?

Marleen also reports regular visitation on her beach by both mammalian and avian scavengers, which may impact carcass encounter rates as well.

The rock and lobster pot strewn shore at ME_50.

The rock and lobster pot strewn shore at ME_50.

The waters off ME_50 are frequented by lobstermen, and Marleen often reports wrecked lobster pots washed up on her beach with the wrack. Bird carcasses, however, are extremely infrequent on her beach, and Marleen has only reported a single beached bird, a juvenile Herring Gull found in May of last year.

The only beached bird ever reported on ME_50

The only beached bird ever reported on ME_50

Of course, we remind all our volunteers that finding dead birds is not SEANET’s goal; we want data from beaches that produce piles of carcasses, and from beaches that produce none. What matters to us is the consistency of beach coverage, and Marleen has indeed been consistent, braving ME_50 even in the harsh Maine winters.

Thanks to Marleen for joining SEANET and for staying with it!

If you would like to see your own beach featured here on the blog, don’t forget to send in your beach characteristics form (downloadable from the Volunteer Toolkit tab above) along with your Volunteer Contract (also available there) if you haven’t already. We want to introduce you all to each other, and to each other’s beaches!

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