Image 1: Landsat image of Cape Cod. One arrow points to the eroding outer beach on the right. Two more arrows point to areas of sand build out to the south and north. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0901natlpark.html Sept. 18, 1999 Landsat image of Cape Cod. The Outer Beach (magenta arrow) along the right-hand side of the Cape is eroding back at a few feet per year. Some of the sand is building out to the south and north (yellow arrows), but some of the sand is being lost to deeper water, so the Cape is shrinking. All pictures in this slide show, except this one, by R. Alley, C. Alley, J. Alley or K. Alley.
Image 2: On the left, a tern perched on a piece of wood. On the right, a tern in flight. One good tern… deserves another.
Image 3: The Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore. Water surrounded by green trees, under pale blue sky. Split rail fence in foreground. The great Nauset Marsh, viewed from the back porch of the Salt Pond Visitor Center, Cape Cod National Seashore.
Image 4: Close-up of a bumblebee on a pickerelweed. Bumblebee visiting pickerelweed, which grows in the shallows at the edge of Great Pond, Eastham, Cape Cod. By building a lake-studded outwash plain into the ocean, the glaciers left a rich mix of aquatic habitats.
Image 5: On the left, a herring gull landing in the water. On the right, close-up of herring gull perched. Gulls, such as these herring gulls, are widespread and successful generalists, equally at home along fresh and salt waters, as well as cleaning up messes left by humans.
Image 6: On top, a close-up of three yellowlegs in Nauset Marsh. Below, twelve or more yellowlegs in the marsh. Yellowlegs are well-named, and common in Nauset Marsh.
Image 7: Side-by-side close-up images of a great blue heron standing in the marsh in front of tall water grass. Great blue herons, Nauset Marsh. A fish that doesn’t watch out may realize too late that he blue it.
Image 8: On top, a close-up of a sandpiper on the beach with his beak in the sand. Below, a close-up of a yellowleg standing in the water. Salt marshes are highly productive, and support a diversity of life… including sandpipers (top) and yellowlegs (bottom). Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod.
Image 9: On the left, a close-up of a cormorant perched. On the right, a close-up of a cormorant on a cinder block with his wings spread. Cormorants were not present on the Cape a few decades ago, but now are commonly seen fishing or drying their wings.
Image 10: Large number of people on the beach at Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod. slide 10 Coasts loom large in our natural psyche, and tens of millions of people each year visit our coasts for recreation and sunburns. These pictures show a cold, gray day at Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, and there are still lots of people out.
Image 11: On top, rippled sand, with beach grass in the background. Below, a close-up of rippled sand. Waves and tidal currents move immense amounts of sand, leaving beautiful ripples, as shown in these closeups from First Encounter Beach.
Image 12: Cape Cod sand dune with a thin layer of hardy vegetation. Ocean in background spotted with beach goers. Cape Cod’s beaches may be backed by rapidly eroding bluffs, by sand dunes covered with a thin layer of hardy vegetation that can be damaged easily by human activities (as shown here), or by salt marshes.
Image 13: Nauset Light, lighthouse on Cape Cod. Nauset Light. The light was moved in 1996, just before the rapid erosion of the bluffs along this part of the coastline dropped this historical building into the waves. Everyone with a long memory of the Cape has stories of things that have been lost to the encroaching sea.
Image 14: Family of three sitting atop Great Rock. Great Rock, the Cape’s largest glacial erratic (big rock carried by the glacier) attests to the ability of ice to move pieces of many different sizes. The rock extends below the picture, and then about as far into the ground as above.
Image 15: Bright orange sunset at First Encounter Beach. Herring gulls in the foreground. Herring gulls at sunset, First Encounter Beach, Cape Cod.
Image 16: Sunset at Rock Harbor, Cape Cod. Boats docked on left. Sunset, Rock Harbor, Cape Cod. It isn’t very geological, but it’s pretty.