b'Cape Cod NeighborGreat Blue Heron: Walking in the WetlandsThat large graceful bird that you see wading among the marsh grass is undoubtedly a Great Blue Heron. Note its long legs, yellowish beak, and grayish blue color. In fl ight the birds neck is held in an S-shaped confi guration and its wingspan can exceed six feet. The Great Blue catches fi sh by standing quietly and then spearing them with its sharp beak. The survival of this magnifi cent bird depends on healthy wetlands.Drawing by Barbara Holden Cape Cod NeighborOsprey: Famous Fish HawkA coastal superstar, the Ospreys resurgence on the Cape is a success story. Their decline resulted from the disruption of nesting sites and the use of DDT, which thinned their eggshells. With the banning of DDT and the construction of nesting platforms, there are now 6 or more coastal nesting pairs of Osprey that fl edge off spring in Chatham that rely on our fresh and marine waters for food and habitat; a family of four requires more than six pounds of fi sh a day. Drawing by Barbara HoldenCape Cod NeighborBivalves: Natures Water FiltersIf you have taken a walk on the beach, youve noticed the incredible diversity of shells that wash up on the shore.These are the remains of the many species of mollusks that live in our salt ponds, harbors and bays.These species include oysters, quahogs, soft shell clams or steamers, bay scallops, mussels, and surf and razor clams. Shell sh harvesting can be traced back to shell middens, the garbage dumps of the native Americans.Today, shell sh beds continue to be harvested both commercially and recreationally.These amazing creatures are not only deli-cious, they are also great for the environment.As they feed byltering microscop-ic creatures and organic debris from the water, they act as naturallters to improve water quality. A full-sized oyster canlter more than 25 gallons of water per day!Because these animals arelter feeders, bivalves are also among therst creatures to suffer from pollution and poor water qual-ity.They are the canaries in the coal mine of the marine environment.Page 48 bluepages.indd 48 8/26/2009 1:52:29 PM'