The Gulls of Winter – Day 8

Ahhhh, the Gulls of our Cape Cod winters…

My constant companions on shore walks, no matter what the weather might; sunshiny days full of promise or when the cold, raw winds blow.


Some would call them ordinary, pests, even scavengers, and I suppose they would not be wrong.

But I don’t think it’s the whole picture.

To me they are fascinating creatures, the proverbial Cape Cod year round residents who face the winter beach.

Like me.

During the quiet winter months, coming upon a small flock of gulls fishing along the shore when the water’s choppy is always a thrill for me.


Tenacious and focused, they dive headlong into the surf.


And sometimes, they come up empty.


In fact “sometimes”, can turn into many times!

But they don’t give up, they simply try again.

And again.

And again.

Until at last they snatch something tasty from the frigid water, be it a tasty clam, mussel or scallop.


And that’s when the real work begins.

Now they have to protect their prize, from all comers.


Flying away from the crowd they carry their treasure, gripping it as tightly as they can…

And soaring up, up, up into the air…


They reach a certain place high in the sky and then hovering in place, they let their prize fall smack! to the rocks and shells below.

And if the shell doesn’t crack on the first attempt, they snatch it up once again, and awaaaay they go!!


I’ve seen them do it over and over, and over again, however many times it takes to drop and crack that shell — and still manage to not lose it to another gull!


The bottom line?

Gulls never give up.

Not if the prize, that they prize, is worth what it takes to hold onto it…


And make it their own.  ❤

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Gulls and Sanderlings – Opportunity and Abundance

When I got to Ridgevale Beach late this afternoon the clouds were AMAZING as I looked out from the channel bridge.


Down along the shore the clouds were even more breathtaking, and the water choppy as a stiff breeze and chill air reminded me that next time I need to wear more layers now that autumn is here in earnest!  😉


Just then I looked toward Cockle Cove Beach, and I noticed an animated bit of activity there among the gulls and sanderlings.


The sanderlings, one of my favorite shorebirds, were trotting along the shore, back and forth, back and forth, even more frenetically than usual.

Yet they weren’t following the waves, as is their usual pattern, but following the gulls, up and down the shoreline.


Yet as busy as they were, one or two of them would now and again turn to look at me; giving me that old familiar sanderling gaze that has endeared them to me ever since I first discovered them many years ago.


Meanwhile, all along the shore the gulls were in the air, scanning the churning chop for scallops, hovering for a time and then plunging down, down into the froth!


More often than not, UP they’d come with tiny scallops in their bills, and carry them to shore.

And of course they would then fight over them, as gulls always do.


It was then that I noticed something…

Each time they’d finish with their squabbling over whose scallop was whose, the gulls would finish their meal quickly and then fly off, screaming at one other, impatient to go find more food to fight over.

And that’s when the sanderlings would scurry in, scooping up the crumbs that were left behind.


So that’s why they were following the gulls around; waiting for their dinner to be brought to shore for them, courtesy of the hungry, noisy, greedy gulls.

And off they’d trot on tiny little legs, with their belly full of scallops!


Such smart little birds, these sanderlings, yesindeedy!

If it is even possible,  I think now I love them even more…   😉

Something Special

I hear this question all the time when I am out with my camera.

“Seen anything special?”

The fact of the matter is, I see so MUCH “special” but don’t have nearly the time I’d like to edit and share it all!  😉

Like this osprey that was flying over me at Mill Landing the other day, who just happened to pass behind the windshield of the boat docked in front of me.


Or the poke berries changing from their summer-to-autumn clothes. I remember these from my childhood, especially when I made the mistake of squeezing their “inky” berries!


This dapper fellow caught my eye the other morning as he strutted his stuff for the gull-gals down at Forest Beach. A special kind of handsome, don’t you think?


Ever since I can remember I have loved thistle. And now, with the camera, I can’t seem to get enough of these purple flowers with prickly stems, the way they catch the light…


Sometimes it’s the simplest thing I’ll see that feels special.

Like this sailboat that’s been anchored at Forest Beach. Every time I pass it and see the waves gently lapping its edges, it makes me feel so calm, so peaceful.


I suppose the truth of the matter is that “special” is in the eye of the beholder.

Maybe the next time someone asks me, “Seen anything special?” I’ll simply say, “Why yes…”

“And YOU?”

#specialiseverywhere

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