Moon Sets over Herring Gull at Wychmere – Day 25

Well, it looked like I wasn’t the ONLY one who saw the moonrise this morning at Wychmere.


I pulled in, hoping to spot an Eider if I was lucky, or maybe a Red-breasted Merganzer who’d made it thru’ the wind storm overnight.

But I got even luckier when I saw this beautiful Herring Gull, standing at her post as the moon set just overhead.


Such a gorgeous moon it was, waning from the full Wolf Moon this past week that was too overcast for us all to see.


And this gull seemed to be taking in the full beauty of the moment.


Perhaps pondering the day that lay before her…


And feeling a certain sense of hopefulness and calm

As she sallied forth, with the moon on her shoulder.  😉


 

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The Gulls Had Me at Hello – Day 20

Braving the greying skies and brisk wind, I dropped in at Rock Harbor the other day as we all waited for the big storm to come in.


But it wasn’t the ice floes…


Or the golden dunes beyond the harbor that captivated me most.


For anyone who knows me, I can be standing in front of the most breathtaking landscape…

Yet it’s always THE BIRDS who pull me in and make me forget all else.

And at Rock Harbor on this bleak wintry day, it was the gulls.

“Hellllooooo!” they seemed to say as soon as I approached.


Now I know what you’re thinking, “Gulls. Those noisy scavengers, what beasts they are!”

And well, maybe you have a point.

Yet how could I possibly resist this face??


Or those pretty little legs of hers when she stood up as I walked on by?


Well as you can see, I simply could not.


She seemed to love the flattery, something gulls don’t always get from passersby who are looking for “the fancy birds”. (Adult Ring-billed Gull)


A young Ring-billed was nestled nearby, enjoying a late morning siesta.


While up ahead a row of Herring Gulls caught my attention next.


Will you just look at those profiles!  😉


Other gulls in the group were engrossed in some pretty serious preening.


I found myself captivated with the beauty of their feathers…


And their incredible flexibility as they moved slowly and methodically from head to tail!


Yet I wasn’t the only one who seemed intrigued by the gulls.


Canadas and Eiders alike stopped what they were doing, just to look.


So with all the excitement about the iced-in harbor and the darkening skies…

That day at Rock Harbor…

It was the gulls who had me at “hello”.


 

 

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.  ❤

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…   😉