Least Sandpiper, by Celia Thaxter

Sleepy Sandpiper, Nokomis Beach, 2016

Least Sandpiper

Across the narrow beach we flit,–
One little sandpiper and I;
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.

The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I.

Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky;
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses high.

Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,–
One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery.

He has no thought of any wrong;
He scans me with a fearless eye.
Stanch friends are we, well-tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night
When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?

I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky:
For are we not God’s children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I?

 

I was delighted to come across this lovely little poem by Celia Thaxter today.  I read it aloud to my children from the 1908 classic Birds Every Child Should Know (affiliate link, free on Kindle.)  It reminded me of all the times they’ve chased little sandpipers up and down the beach.

Falling in Love… With the Sea

I live just a few blocks from the beach, but too many nights I come home tired and close the door behind me. And it’s easy to fill every weekend day with errands, chores and family and social events. “We need to go to the beach,” my boyfriend and I tell each other—for days, weeks, sometimes even months.

And then, finally, one night after work, we do. Walking over the dune, we feel the air change. It’s softer, fresher, tinged with salt. We take off our shoes and the sand squeaks between our toes. We sit close to the water, holding hands and watching tiny sandpipers scurry along the edges of each splashing wave with uncanny precision. By the time that glowing sun has slipped into the Gulf, we’re lost in wonder, in love all over again with this magical sliver where land meets sea, the enchanted zone that’s the heart and soul of Sarasota.

 

Come to the Sleepy Sandpiper. . . take your morning walk to the beach. . . watch the sunset in the evening at the “magical sliver where land meets sea.”

 

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Nokomis Beach Sunset 2016

 

“Quiet, relaxing…”

The Sleepy Sandpiper was just as the listing said it would be. Quiet, relaxing and close to the beach. Alexandra couldn’t have been more informative. And checked in to make sure all was going as planned, making sure we could reach her if we needed to. The list of local attractions and restaurants covered a lot of what we were looking for.

Nesting Ospreys?

As you walk from the Sleepy Sandpiper to the Nokomis public beach, you will cross a bridge spanning the Intercoastal Waterway.

Look up at the lights which control  the traffic when the bridge needs to be raised. Do you see a large nest? This week I’ve seen two birds in it. I’m not positive, but I think they are ospreys.

I love watching the birds around Nokomis.  Just during the past week I’ve seen brown pelicans, great blue herons, anhingas, woodpeckers, cardinals, white ibises, cranes, snowy egrets laughing gulls, and of course, sandpipers.

I keep a copy of the Birds of Florida field guide at the beach house and you are invited to make note of which birds you see, too!

If you really enjoy birdwatching, Oscar Scherer State Park is less than a 10 minute drive away.  They frequently offer guided scrub walks, tram tours, and canoe trips.  Here is their checklist of birds commonly seen in the area.