Behold! the Red-tailed Hawk of Nauset Light

Just as I was turning to leave Nauset Light the other day, I spotted this GORGEOUS Red-tailed Hawk perched high on a phone pole at the very bottom of the hill.


It was obvious, she was looking for some dinner in the small bramble-covered mound between her and the Light.


I have always been intensely drawn to Red-taileds.

I love their eyes, their intense focus…


The way they waggle their head back and forth when they see something of interest nearby.


Their glorious feathers and yes, even those powerful yellow talons so perfectly suited for snatching up small prey.


I have always felt a deep sense of calm whenever I see a Red-tailed perched on a rooftop, swooping up to a tree or soaring over the highway.

Somehow, when I see them I feel as if everything is okay, or will be soon.

And as I stood there, fresh off my visit to the Light…


I couldn’t help but wonder if this might be the Red-tailed Hawk of Nauset Light…


Charged with watching over this great beacon who herself has been the ultimate protector to countless sailors and pilots all these many, many years.


I guess I like to think that somehow the Light and the hawk, and all the hawks of her line…


Are watching over one another.

Alert and steadfast, assured of their noble purpose, their place in this world.


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Nauset Light – Seeing an Old Familiar Beacon with New Eyes

I hadn’t visited Nauset Light in Eastham in years.


And what a story this glorious beacon has to tell!

The original lighthouse station in Eastham was built in 1838 and comprised of three 15-foot tall brick lighthouse towers named The Three Sisters.

In 1892 because of land erosion The Three Sisters were replaced with three 22-foot tall towers made of wood and moved further inland. Further erosion required the dismantling of the towers in 1911; two were sold at auction and the third moved back even further, attached to the lighthouse keeper’s house and installed with a Fresnel lens.

Yet that is still not the end of the story!

In 1923 the wooden lighthouse in Eastham was retired and replaced with a 48-foot high brick-lined cast iron tower that had been moved over from Chatham; twin to the Chatham Lighthouse that is still there today.

The Light was repainted in the 1940’s in its familiar red and white colors. Potato chip lovers will recognize it as the lighthouse used in the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips!  😉


Yet standing there, after an absence of many years, the only thing I could think of was how tall it seemed back when I was a little girl standing in that very same spot!


And with my new passion for photography, it was as if I were seeing it all for the very first time.


Some things were new – like the two rotating aerobeacons that had replaced the Fresnel lens in 1981.

I was mesmerized as I watched it flash first red…


Then white.

Red, then white.


And I noticed that when you stood in just the right spot, right up close to the base of the tower and looked up…


You could see through the window on the lower white level of the tower…


Straight through to blue sky out the red-painted window one level up on the other side!  😉


I probably loved the black lantern top the most…


With the tiny porthole windows just below it…


And the iron guard rail at the very top…


With its dozen or so finials pointing skyward.


As we turned to head back down the hill it felt like I had just visited with a very dear, very old friend.

One that I hoped to visit again and this time — much, much sooner!  😉


Note: To learn more about the fascinating history of Nauset Light please visit the Nauset Light website.

The View from Cockle Cove – One Dog’s Perspective

We’ve had a few windy, cold days here on the Cape, and the view from Cockle Cove has been spectacular!


The sand was really blowing the other day at Cockle, just as the sun was setting…


Yet this one happy dog just didn’t seem to mind at all!


He ran this way…

And then that way; his eyes were gleaming and his tail never stopped wagging.


I just kept wondering, now what is making him so happy??

And then I noticed something moving, through the blowing sand, down along the shoreline.


And then – I saw TAILS!


Could it be?

Was it them??


Yesindeedy! It was the mighty Sanderlings, busy hunting for their dinner!


So that’s what had made this happy dog’s eyes shine!!

He’d come chase them a bit, and they’d fly up and land a little further down the shoreline.


Now like so many bird photographers I get frustrated when people let their dogs run wild on the beach when I’m trying to photograph the birds; scaring them up and yes, ruining many a magical Kodak moment.


Yet there was something about the sheer joy written all over this dog that reminded me of our dogs all through childhood who LOVED the beach, who went nuts whenever they got near enough to smell it.

Chasing after the birds is this dog’s nature, what living on Cape Cod is all about for him


And all I could do was smile…T

Thinking how the two of us really aren’t that much different, after all.  😉

Thanksgiving’s Early Arrival

Rain was due in today.

So I headed to Wychmere Harbor, in between errands for Thanksgiving Day.


All was quiet.


It was as if everyone was poised, just waiting for the first raindrops to fall.


And by the time I had pulled in up the road at Herring River, they were.

But that didn’t phase this pair of Buffleheads, not one little bit.


Like little rubber duckies they dove, and within moments bobbled back up; seeming quite content in one another’s company.

And as I heard the sound of the raindrops falling on the roof of my car, pitter-patter-pat, and watched them as they fell all around the ducks in the water…


All I could think of was how I wouldn’t rather have spent the day before Thanksgiving Eve in any other way.


Thanksgiving gratitude, had come early.  ❤

Goodnight, Chatham Light Beach – November 18, 2018

There was such a magical glow to everything last evening at Lighthouse beach in Chatham.

The sun had set and the water was at times, still as glass.


Ducks, gulls and Eiders fished just offshore…


Conversing with great gusto.


We came upon a solitary Sanderling…


Searching for bites to eat from the crab shells scattered along the shore.


And as I looked back at the lighthouse behind me, rising statuesque against the clouds…


The Constance Sea was comin’ home with her catch for the day.


Covered with a flock of gulls, eager for some sushi tidbits.


Just one of the daily rituals in a fishing village like Chatham.

 

Swan River Reeds Wave Hello to Autumn

This is such a familiar view here on the Cape where the road opens to a view of the salt marsh…


Swan River, on Upper County Road near Hart Farm and Clancy’s Restaurant is one of my favorite spots in autumn for such a view.

And it’s all about the reeds.


Seeing them standing so tall against the backdrop of a changing palette of autumn colors, waving to and fro, backlit by the sun…

You can almost hear them as they’re swaying, saying…


“Hello fall, welcome autumn!”