|East Beach ~ Barrier Beach|
Virtual Field Trip
Going up and over the crest of the dune we enter the secondary dune area. Let's do another quadrat study and take the temperature again. In this random sampling behind the primary dune, we have an 85% cover consisting of both live and deavegetation. Of the 85% cover, 40% are live plants and 45% are dead plants. We find 2 goldenrod, 1 beach pea plant, and the rest is beachgrass. Beach pea tendrils are what hold down the sand's top layer as the running roots of the beach grass anchor the dunes in place from below. The temperature here is 91 degrees below the sand and 100 degrees above the ground. We notice that the temperature of the air is higher here because the primary dunes stop or block ocean breezes.
Let's walk a little way down this trail behind the dunes. It seems as though there are many more plant species here. Winding down the trail we see wild roses, pitch pine, dusty miller, glasswort, poison ivy, and fragrant bayberry shrubs.
Wild Beach Rose
or Salt Spray Rose
Eureka! Look at what we see! There are tiny bird tracks in the sand. Letís follow them.
Following these tracks leads us to a sign which indicates that this is the home of the piping plover. The piping plover is an endangered species. Rhode Island is fortunate to have thirty nesting pairs. From the size of these tracks, it appears that a baby was recently born. We'll be sure not to walk through this area and disturb the birds.