For the love of Sandy Neck! Coast Sweep 2016

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Each year we invite the public to join us for the annual Coast Sweep clean up of beautiful Sandy Neck Beach Park. This year we will be holding the event on Sunday, September 25th from 9 am to Noon. We ask everyone who loves this beach to come and join us. The staff will provide gloves, trash bags and trash collection sheets for everyone and will be working side by side with the public to remove trash and debris from the beach as well as the dunes.

As the years go by, more and more people come to Sandy Neck to enjoy the many wonderful things this park has to offer. Everything from the off road vehicle beach, to the spectacular hiking trails along the Great Marsh to campfires in the warm summer evenings or surf fishing along the great expanse of beach; this park has something for everyone!

Now we are asked to give back! Marine debris are of serious concern for both beach fronts and marine environments and we can all do something about this! We can and will be a part of the solution to this problem and we can only do this together!

I invite you to explore the link below to find out more about Marine debris and what our trash in the waters can do to damage wildlife and impact the very fish that we eat.

Please follow the link below to view

JOIN us in making a difference  on Sunday September 25th at 9 am!

Terrapin Hatchlings Emerge!

unnamed (4)Sandy Neck Turtle Monitor Eva Golden and Sandy Neck Park Manager Nina Coleman pose with a couple of day-old Terrapin Hatchlings before releasing them safely into the salt marsh

Keep a careful eye out while hiking on the marsh trail of Sandy Neck. For the next 3 months, these tiny, quarter-sized turtle hatchlings will be emerging from the sand dunes and making the treacherous journey back into the marsh where they will spend the rest of their lives. Although thousands of hatchlings may emerge, only about 1 in 100 will make it to adulthood.

Luckily, the phenomenal weather this summer has allowed many nests to begin hatching earlier than normal, providing these cute little hatchlings with plenty of time, energy and resources to give them a better shot at survival.

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 Sean Kortis                                                                                                                                                              Barnstable Natural Resource Officer

 

The Mayors of Sandy Neck

jack and quinny Jack & Quinlin conferring at the Sandy Neck Gatehouse

We welcome our four-legged friends at Sandy Neck Beach Park year round! Often in the early morning you can see dogs along with their human parents strolling down Sandy Neck Road or walking the very popular Great Marsh Trail. Folks who live on the road often meet up to walk their canine companions together, both dogs and people seem to love the meet and greet time of day at Sandy Neck!

 

We wish to highlight two of our favorite doggy friends whom I call the Mayors of Sandy Neck!  Paul and Donna White of West Barnstable are owned by Quinlin, the “Bestie Westie”.  Quinny will come to the gate most mornings and politely shake hands and lie down for a treat. He never meets a stranger and while his “Dad” Paul and I talk, Quinny greets each and every person and dog that comes through the Gatehouse. If someone starts to pass by without giving Quinny a hello, he will give them his most lovable look until they have to stop and give him the attention he deserves!

 

The other Mayor of Sandy Neck is Jack; a strikingly handsome Border Collie mix who will melt your heart. Jack parents are Earl and Judy McKeen of East Sandwich.  Jack is a rescue dog and like most rescue animals, Jack is kind of a shy guy. He doesn’t eat treats, but each time he comes to the Gatehouse he wags his tail and waits patiently for his pat on the head. You have to fall in love with Jack’s kind and gentle eyes and his quiet demeanor.  Although Jack is more reserved than Quinlin, you wouldn’t know it when the two greet each other. It is total love fest!

 

The Mayors meet often at the Gatehouse or on Sandy Neck Road and everyone who lives here knows who they are. Quinlin and Jack have asked me to tell all you parents of four-legged children to stop by the Gatehouse get your doggies a treat and enjoy a lovely walk. Gatehouse staff will point out the way to the Great Marsh Trail and will give you a map of the park.

 

If you are out and about on Sandy Neck Road and you see they Mayors, make sure you stop and say hello!

Diamondback Terrapins Emerge to Nest at Sandy Neck Beach

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It’s July on Cape Cod. The hot sun hangs high upon the air, clouded by a layer of haze from the harsh humidity. The greenhead flies have finally erupted, and they swarm the banks of the Barnstable Great Marsh in search of unsuspecting victims.
But amidst all of this chaos, Diamondback Terrapins are taking advantage of the sweltering sunshine, as they emerge from the banks of the marsh in order to lay their nests among the towering dunes of Sandy Neck. Rarely seen, these turtles quickly disappear back into the grassy marsh, leaving nothing behind but a unique set of tracks that wind and weave across the dunes beyond the trail.
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The Diamondback Terrapin is a threatened species in the state of Massachusetts. Sandy Neck is their northern-most range, and one of the last remaining strongholds for this species on Cape Cod. Terrapins are the only turtles in the world that live in brackish water; in estuaries where freshwater runoff from rivers and streams mix with the tidal flow of the oceans to form a diverse habitat rich in productivity.
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These fascinating creatures will continue to nest until mid-July, laying between 10-20eggs at a time before departing back to their native marshlands until next summer. The warmth of the hot summer sun will help to incubate the eggs under the sand until they hatch in the fall, when they will have to make the treacherous journey back into the marsh as quarter-sized hatchlings.
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So when the heat of the summer and the frustration of the greenheads seem to be getting the best of you – just remember that this weather is an important part of the beautiful changing seasons of Cape Cod. For without it, our threatened Terrapins, who have persevered for so long, despite habitat loss, hunting, shifting ecosystems, and depredation, might fade among the grains of sand that blow upon the dunes, and disappear to nothing but a long-forgotten story that flutters through the breeze.
So thank the hot and humid days, for they ensure the future generations of Terrapins an opportunity to hatch into this wonderful land that we call Sandy Neck for many years to come.
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Sean Kortis
Barnstable Natural Resource Officer

4th of July at Sandy Neck Beach Park

4th of July at Sandy Neck Beach Park

The Sandy Neck Beach Park Staff wishes to extend a warm welcome to everyone for the 2016 Summer season at the beach!

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 With the 4th of July fast approaching we want to update you on Beach conditions. The Off Road Vehicle Beach is open a little past Trail 2, (1.9 miles).  The speed limit is 5 MPH.  Park on the berm with your headlights facing the dunes. Campers may park with either their headlights or taillights to the dunes. We ask those campers who park with the taillights to the dunes to put their hang tags in the rear window of the camper for easy viewing!

Please visit our website at www.sandyneckbeachpark.com for ORV parking diagram.

We expect a busy 4th of July weekend and want everyone to have fun and remain safe!  A couple of reminders to help you enjoy your time here at Sandy Neck:

1. On the Off Road Vehicle Corridor, dogs must be leashed at all times (15′ leash or less). No dogs allowed in parking lot or on public beach.

2. Fires are allowed in designated areas at 7 pm.

3. Per the fire department, NO sky lanterns are allowed to be set off from the beach.

4. Anyone visiting the beach, either going to the parking lot or Off Road must be through the gatehouse by 9 pm.

5. Curfew is 11 pm. You must be out of the park by that time.

 

HIGH TIDES for the weekend:

July 1st 9:18pm 11.5’

July 2nd 9:57am 10.1/ 10:14pm 11.7’

July 3rd 10:54am 10.2’/11:09pm 11.8’

July 4th 11:49am 10.3’/ 12:00pm 10.3’

Please call the gatehouse at 508-362-8300 with any questions

Thank you for making SandyNeckBeachPark your vacation destination!

 With the 4th of July fast approaching we want to update you on Beach conditions. The Off Road Vehicle Beach is open a little past Trail 2, (1.9 miles).  The speed limit is 5 MPH.  Park on the berm with your headlights facing the dunes. Campers may park with either their headlights or taillights to the dunes. We ask those campers who park with the taillights to the dunes to put their hang tags in the rear window of the camper for easy viewing!

Please visit our website at www.sandyneckbeachpark.com for ORV parking diagram.

We expect a busy 4th of July weekend and want everyone to have fun and remain safe!  A couple of reminders to help you enjoy your time here at Sandy Neck:

1. On the Off Road Vehicle Corridor, dogs must be leashed at all times (15′ leash or less). No dogs allowed in parking lot or on public beach.

2. Fires are allowed in designated areas at 7 pm.

3. Per the fire department, NO sky lanterns are allowed to be set off from the beach.

4. Anyone visiting the beach, either going to the parking lot or Off Road must be through the gatehouse by 9 pm.

5. Curfew is 11 pm. You must be out of the park by that time.

 

HIGH TIDES for the weekend:

July 1st 9:18pm 11.5’

July 2nd 9:57am 10.1/ 10:14pm 11.7’

July 3rd 10:54am 10.2’/11:09pm 11.8’

July 4th 11:49am 10.3’/ 12:00pm 10.3’

Please call the gatehouse at 508-362-8300 with any questions

Thank you for making SandyNeckBeachPark your vacation destination!images

Sandy Neck Store

class of 2016 SNK

2016 Sandy Neck Store!

 

We have wonderful new merchandise at the Sandy Neck Gatehouse for 2016:

 

Assorted ball caps, including a special edition “retro” cap $20

 

Owl Eye Bucket hat to keep the sun off your face and neck $30

 

Sweatpants $30

 

2016 ORV Tee Shirts $15

 

Adult Property Of Sandy Neck Tee Shirts $20

 

Sweatshirts $45

 

Crew Neck Fleece $45

 

Jersey Hoodie $30

 

Distressed Cape Cod/Sandy Neck Tee $20

 

Long Sleeve Trail Tees $25

 

Youth Property Of Tee $20

 

Youth Digital Camo Wicking Tee $25

 

Sandy Neck Flag $25

 

Bumper Stickers New “retro” $5

 

Bumper Stickers New Round $5

 

Sandy Neck Tire Gauge Key Ring $3

 

Sandy Neck Water Bottle $5

 

Sandy Neck Mugs/Glasses $10

 

Grocery Tote Bag $4

 

Sandy Neck Beach Bag $30

 

 

The Gatehouse hours are 8am – 9pm, EVERY DAY!

Save the Frogs day at Sandy Neck!

 

 

 

 

Save the Frogs SNK

Join us on April 30th for a Save the Frogs Day event at Sandy Neck Beach 10am-12pm.

Amphibians are some of the most vulnerable species in the world, and they are being depleted at an alarming rate worldwide. Come learn more about these intriguing creatures, and their importance in the environment. We will explore the beautiful vernal pools of Sandy Neck and look for signs of Spring amphibian activity including the rare Eastern Spadefoot Toad, a threatened species in the state of Massachusetts. Along the way will will pick up trash and help maintain the beauty and productivity of these majestic wetlands that dot the forests and dune swales of Sandy Neck Beach.
Meet at the Sandy Neck Gatehouse. This event is free. More more information, call the Gatehouse @ 508-362-8300

Signs of Spring – Amphibians Emerge to Breed at Sandy Neck

Sean a
If you are driving to Sandy Neck in the evening, you may notice a loud and familiar sound along the road. The high-pitched chorus of the Spring Peepers has returned to nearby wetlands at the park. These quarter-sized tree frogs are quite loud for their size, and can be heard over a mile away. While the first peepers were heard faintly in February, they are now out in full force, calling out in hopes of finding a mate. Spring Peepers are often one of the first signs of spring, and an indicator of warmer days ahead.

Here are a few videos of the Spring Peeper activity at Sandy Neck last week

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Last week, we were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the rare and elusive Eastern Spadefoot emerging for the first time this year. While there was no breeding behavior documented, their presence above ground so early in the year is a great sign. Warm temperatures, heavy rains and a high water table will hopefully provide the right conditions for this state-listed species to breed in 2016. Spadefoots are listed as Threatened in the state of Massachusetts, and they have not successfully bred on Sandy Neck since 2013.
Sean b
Remember, amphibians will continue to breed throughout the Spring and early summer. On warm, rainy nights, please drive slow and keep an eye out for Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders crossing the road.

Times they are a changin’

Times they are a changin’!

Every other year, the Sandy Neck Park Manager and staff take a look at the rules and regulations for Sandy Neck Beach Park and make revisions and recommendations that are sent to the Town Manager for review and acceptance. Most, if not all changes, are based on keeping all beach users safe; it is a safety thing!

We are going to do our best to make sure that everyone who comes to enjoy all aspects of Sandy Neck is informed of these changes, well in advance of the summer season.

 

Sandy Neck Mission Statement

The mission of the Sandy Neck Program is to provide recreational opportunities and access to our town’s citizens and visitors while protecting the natural, cultural, and historic resources on Sandy Neck so that a long term, sustainable balance between use and conservation of these resources is achieved.

 

Off Road Beach Access Hours/Curfew

New hours for ORV beach access are going into effect immediately.  The changes are based on safe times of operation due to daylight hours and staffing.

 The In-Season ORV beach access is April 1st through October 31st. The ORV beach will open at 8am and will be closed at 11pm. You must be through the Gatehouse by 9pm in order to stay out until curfew. All ORV vehicles must be out of the park by 11pm.

The Off-Season ORV beach access is November 1st through March 31st. The ORV beach opens at 8am and closes at 4pm. All ORV vehicles must be off the beach by 4pm.

 Off Road Vehicle Campers

The first change in camper regulations has to do with camper safety and the second with camper consideration.  All campers, at time of yearly inspection, will be required to have a working carbon monoxide detector on board as standard equipment. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a potential problem we take seriously! Below are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning; it is colorless and odorless and can lead to serious health issues.

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The second change regarding campers is the “courteous neighbor policy”. In order to respect all campers’ right to quiet enjoyment, all generators will be silenced between the hours of 10pm to 8am.

Campfires

Campfire regulations are changing! Off Road Vehicle campfire rules will remain the same with the only exception being the following:

In-Season, April 1st through October 31st, off road vehicle users will be allowed campfires at 7pm or sunset, whichever comes first. All other customary rules and regulations will still apply.

Off-Season. From November 1st through March 31st there will be NO campfires allowed.

Public Beach patrons, intending to have a campfire in the designated area on the front beach, will need to purchase a campfire permit at the Gatehouse. The campfire permits will go on sale at 5pm each night, and may be limited in number.

In-Season, April 1st through October 31st, Campfires will be at 7pm or sunset, whichever comes first. All other customary rules and regulations will still apply.

Off-Season, November 1st through March 31st there will be NO campfires allowed.

 Horseback riding

Safety: All persons horseback riding on Sandy Neck will be required to wear an ASTM/SEI approved horseback riding helmet.

Horseback riding is now pay-as-you-ride; the fee is $20 per horse per ride. The first ride of the season, the horse owner will come in and fill out paperwork and receive a horse pass for the $20 fee per horse. Each time from then on, the rider(s) will present the horse pass or passes to the Gatehouse and pay the $20 per horse fee to ride on the beach.  During season, when beach parking fees are required, the horse trailer and truck will be allowed to park in the Bodfish parking lot at no charge, but any other vehicles associated with the ride will have to pay the daily parking fee.

Snowy Owl release on Sandy Neck

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Norman Smith -- with help from his granddaughters Alexa and Carmella -- release Wampatuck, the latest Project SNOWstorm owl. (©Ray McDonald)

Norman Smith — with help from his granddaughters Carmella and Alexa — release Wampum, the latest Project SNOWstorm owl. (©Ray McDonald)

Here’s a great way to ring out the old year and usher in 2016. The newest Project SNOWstorm owl is Wampum, an adult female captured at Logan Airport in Boston by Norman Smith and relocated to a safer spot on Cape Cod earlier this week — with one of CTT’s new third-generation GPS/GSM transmitters on her back. She’s the 36th Snowy Owl we’ve tagged since Project SNOWstorm started in December 2013.

Wampatuck, already an adult, was originally banded by Norman last winter at Logan, and returned this year. (©Ray McDonald)

Wampum, already an adult, was originally banded by Norman last winter at Logan, and returned this year. (©Ray McDonald)

What’s more, this is Norman’s 35th year of work with snowies at Logan, one of the longest-running Snowy Owl projects in North America. During the mega-irruption of 2013-14 he moved more than 120 snowies from the airport, but even a more normal winter like this one, when numbers are much lower, he’s been busy — Wampum was the 15th snowy he’d moved from Logan this winter.

Caught, but in her case not banded — because she was already wearing one of Norman’s USGS leg bands. Turns out this was an owl he’d first captured and banded last winter at Logan, when the molt pattern in her flight feathers showed she was already an adult.

(Watch for a profile of Norman and his decades of Snowy Owl research in an upcoming blog.)

Wampum’s transmitter was underwritten by a generous donation, and while the donors wish to remain anonymous, we are nevertheless grateful for their support.

I had a chance to help Norman fit Wampum with her harness and transmitter, at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, Mass., which Norman directs for Massachusetts Audubon. Because she was a bit of a biter, Norman draped a thin cloth hood over her head as we started, but like most Snowy Owls Wampum was remarkably calm in the hand as we eased the woven Teflon ribbon harness around her body and over her wings, testing it repeatedly for fit before we knotted, sewed and glued the attachments.

In addition to recording precise GPS locations, CTT's new third-generation transmitters are include a temperature sensor and an accelerometer to record movement. (©Ray McDonald)

In addition to recording precise GPS locations, CTT’s new third-generation transmitters are include a temperature sensor and an accelerometer to record movement. (©Ray McDonald)

Wampum was something of an anomaly this winter — the third female  Snowy Owl Norman has caught at Logan so far, tipping the scales at a respectable 2,260g. She was also the first adult; all the others have been juvenile males. In contrast, SNOWstorm collaborator Tom McDonald in upstate New York has caught all adults, and all but one of them have been female. Whether that’s just coincidence, or an actual pattern of distribution this winter, is anyone’s guess.

Regardless of age or sex, Norman and Tom report that all the snowies they’ve caught this winter have been fat and healthy. That’s in contrast to the situation in the western Great Lakes, where more than a few snowies that appeared in October wound up at rehabbers, unusually thin. It’s possible these birds were coming from different areas, and perhaps with different dynamics driving their movements south.

Norman and two of his granddaughters, Alexa and Carmella Nihill, released Wampum on Dec. 30 near Barnstable on Cape Cod, about 60 miles (95 km) southeast of Logan. Normally, we name our tagged birds for their capture or release sites, but in this case the site name — Sandy Neck Beach — had already been used. (Sandy Neck, you may recall, was a bird Norman tagged in 2014 that subsequently drowned on Martha’s Vineyard during a violent nor’easter.)

Why “Wampum”? The word comes from the Algonquian wampompeag, and refers to the tubular, purplish-black beads that coastal tribes made from the shells of quahog clams or (in the case of white wampum) the inner spiral of channeled whelks. In addition to its ceremonial and diplomatic value, wampum became the general currency of the 17th century Northeastern fur trade, and the area where Wampum (the owl) was released was one of the Native centers of wampum manufacture in the 1600s.

And by the way — if Carmella (age 5) and Alexa (3) seem a little young to be helping their grandpa handle large raptors, it’s in their blood — their mother Danielle, Norman’s daughter, and his son Joshua, were helping their dad trap, handle and band Snowy Owls and other big birds of prey when they were about the same age.

In the days after her relocation away from Logan Airport, Wampum moved south across Cape Cod and west to uninhabited Nonamessett Island. (©Project SNOWstorm and Google Earth)

In the days after her relocation away from Logan Airport, Wampum moved south across Cape Cod and west to uninhabited Nonamessett Island. (©Project SNOWstorm and Google Earth)

After her release, Wampum hung around Sandy Neck Beach until dark, then headed south across the cape to Hyannis. She spent most of the day on the harbor breakwater and on Great Rock, which sticks up about a mile from shore. As dusk fell on New Year’s Eve, she took off across the southern shore of the cape moving west toward Falmouth.

Relocated owls usually bounce around a bit — often hustled along on their way by established snowy owls defending their winter territories — until finding a quiet spot of their own. Fortunately, Wampum hasn’t been moving back toward Logan. She continued south and west, and at last report was on uninhabited Nonamessett Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands that extend southeast from Cape Cod, between Buzzard’s Bay and Martha’s Vineyard.  (Like most of the Elizabeths, Nonamessett is owned and managed by the Forbes family of Boston, which made its shipping fortune in the 19th century.)

It will be interesting to see if Wampum stays in the Elizabeth Islands, which would provide plenty of good habitat and solitude, or if she crosses the channel to Martha’s Vineyard, which is a traditionally good spot to find Snowy Owls in winter. Either way, we’ll know about it, thanks to her solar-powered transmitter. We’ll have her interactive map posted soon, and updated regularly thereafter.

Her transmitter just visible between her wings, Wampatuck heads for the end of Sandy Neck after her release. (©Ray McDonald)

Her transmitter just visible between her wings, Wampum heads for the end of Sandy Neck after her release. (©Ray McDonald)