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Wednesday, July 3, 2013



Two days of cold and fog have finally let up and I can escape the confinement of our small apartment by the beach.  Our apartment is not tiny, but we have three sons, a daughter-in-law and two Pa. Crankettes sharing this two bedroom abode.  My daughter and the NC Crankettes left for their home yesterday.

I went on the beach to watch my oldest boys surf.  This must be one of the most difficult sports in the world to learn.  You wait and wait for the right wave to try and ride and the beginner gets knocked on his ass every time.  So you get up, paddle out and wait some more only to get knocked on your ass again.  Each time you get knocked on your ass you learn something, but it seems like it takes forever to get the hang of it.

(Observation only, Cranky don't do that!)

One thing I learned watching my oldest two sons who are 39 and 36 years old is you never stop worrying about your kids. 

What if they get knocked out?

What if there is a shark?

What if they get too tired to paddle back in?

What if? What if?  What if?

What you do learn as your kids get older is to not voice your fears.


These two have not been surfing for that long, even though Mike now lives in Santa Monica, Ca. and surfs often and Matt spends most of the summer in North Wildwood, NJ.  They are just good enough to scare me.

Another interesting thing is even while these two are grown men; they can still act like little kids.  When they come to shore they both ask,

“Did you see that Dad?”

I of course revert to proud papa,

“Yeah, that was really good!”

Tomorrow I will get Spencer, 15, a wet suit (the water is 59 degrees) and see if his big brothers can give him a lesson.  He has gotten up before, but it was a while ago.


Surfing sons were not the only thing I was observing on the beach.  Far out over the water I saw an Osprey dive towards the water, stop, and laboriously wing his way up and up.  As he sailed over my viewpoint on the beach I could see he had successfully nabbed a six inch bunker.  I have watched the Ospreys all week, this is the first time I’ve seen one catch a fish…talk about patient fishers.

Later I saw what at first I thought was a sandpiper, fly to the water’s edge and skillfully run up and down digging for sand crabs.  This was like no sandpiper I have seen before, and as an amateur birder I had to run to my computer and look him up. 

It was an American Oystercatcher.  They were almost wiped out in the nineteenth century because of egg poachers in this area of the country.

If I had a really good camera and the skills of a certain Texas lady  I would show you what I saw, but instead I will cheat and steal photos from the internet of these two birds.

Osprey flying directly overhead with his catch


An American Oystercatcher…A first for me!


  1. Did you see that Dad?

    sigh and sniff

  2. Despite being a native Californian, with fairly decent beach access in my youth... and having been in Hawaii for some time in the early sixties, I only learned how to catch a wave.
    I never quite mastered the art of staying on the board.

  3. It is difficult watching your kids do anything where they could potentially get hurt. I used to be neurotic just watching them play on the swings and Jungle Gyms. So glad they have out grown them.

  4. bwahaha on my photography skills - but thanks for the shout-out!

    would love to see an osprey and an oystercatcher in person!

  5. Ah surfing, something I've tried and completely failed at many times - it looks like one of those things (like playing the piano) that I should just be able to DO!!

  6. This one really struck a cord in me. Our son is 33 and he's constantly saying things like, "Hey Dad, check out my new car!" This kid has had forty cars already. But you're right; as parents we never stop worrying about them but we do learn to keep our mouths shut.

  7. Seeing what less common birds do is amazing. I have seen haws and eagles catch small prey along the freeway. Better than an entire meadow, I suppose. Narrows the focus. I've seen peregrine falcons sitting on freeway lamp standards. A first there. And an owl on a transmission line one morning. Not your usual sparrow or robin.

  8. Comments from my family have gone from "Watch me, Mommy!" to "Did you see that, Grandma?" to "Tell Grandpa what I did when he wakes up!"

  9. Oh so that's an oystercatcher! Have always wondered what they were!

  10. "you never stop worrying about your kids." You got that right! Enjoy the Fourth.

  11. Just about the time I began to relax and exhaled over my kids wellbeing, along come grandkids and it all starts over again. Face it, it's just what parents/grandparents do.


  12. Sigh. Now I will worry about your boys surfing.

    Those birds are way different than anything we have around here. I misread the Osprey, and thought Oprah was diving. My first thought was, "When did she leave Chicago for the Jersey Shore?"

  13. I passed to active Osprey nests which fishing off of Cape May today. Slow motion photos of the Osprey fishing are even more amazing. The naked eye cannot see what the camera catches!


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