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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Bank Street Beach Sunset – Day 2

The light had gone to gray and the sea breeze had chilled by the time I got to Bank Street Beach for the sunset.

And yet…

As always…

There was still a bit of magic to behold!


And no matter what the weather, the gulls still lined the shore.


And the hardiest of walkers were still making their rounds.


I, myself, am especially partial to the moodiness of Cape Cod winters.

😉

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.

 

O for a Little Peace

O for a little peace.


The kind of peace that comes…

When you’ve put into harbor, dropped the anchor.


And just for a little while,

For better or for worse,

The day is done.


Sunset at Stage Harbor, Chatham

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…   😉

Osprey vs. Gull – Another Round in a Constant Battle

One morning I was photographing terns and Laughing Gulls on the creek side of Red River Beach.

It was one of those quiet mornings, just me and the birds.


When all of a sudden I heard a loud ruckus in the air overhead.

Tipping my camera skyward, I wondered if I could catch a glimpse of what it was.

Aha! A young osprey, his talons clutching a fresh catch, streaked across the sky above me…


With a Black-backed Gull, in hot pursuit!

They made a few passes, screaming challenges back and forth.

Until I heard the fish fall with a great plop! in the grass.

The osprey flew off, all was quiet.

And guess who won?


Proud of his spoils yet aware of other competitors nearby, the gull quickly disposed of it, head first.

With supreme satisfaction.


And so ended another chapter in the eternal battle between these two great Fishing Kings with the Gull, the victor.

This time.   😉