Here’s an early morning look at breaking surf just east of Main Beach. I took this photograph about three weeks ago, positioned up on the jetty with my back to the sunrise. It’s maybe not apparent from the photograph but since I was standing on the jetty, the camera is actually about eight feet above the surf. Just to my left were the small flock of Purple Sandpipers who are regular visitors to these rocks (and who were eyeing me with more interest than the waves). They’re not common birds. If you’re down at Main Beach bring binoculars because they’re often found lurking around at the end of the jetty.
There’s no snow in the picture, but it does speak the language of winter. The steep scarp on Long Island’s ocean beaches is common during these months because of changes in current. This time of the year the ocean tends to scoop sand away (rather than deposit it), later throwing it back in time for summer. In the picture, a scarp is beginning to form on the beach to the right. The direct sunlight slanting across the water at daybreak is also a winter phenomenon.
For the next few months, it’s not uncommon to find scarps with four foot sheer drops caused by the erosive effects of a high tide. If you’re so inclined, it’s fun to play with a frisbee along the edges of these because you can practice diving catches. Dogs and children welcome.