Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bird Brain

We're sharing this island with lots of birds.

Even though I like big obvious birds and like knowing the names and facts about flora and fauna, I give up on shorebirds. I don't even know if this is a gull or a tern.

I'd venture to say this is a gull, but what kind....I don't know.

I just know that these birds mean I'm near the ocean, and that's good enough for me!!

The Sibley Guide to Birds shows the different plumage that each gull exhibits through its life cycle. I learned only recently that shorebirds have different plumage at different ages, in addition to breeding plumage and regular plumage.

So I'm happy with "it's a gull" as the extent of my knowledge!!

This line of pilings next to the breakwater caught my eye.

They're near the end of the breakwater, within the harbor.

They seem to be a favorite perch for cormorants - birds that fish by diving.

Somehow the sound of gulls makes me crave lobster rolls or fried clams - favorite beach foods!

I can talk myself right out of that craving if I need to, by remembering the time I saw a cormorant eat a whole live eel while I was kayaking. Gross!


If you're planning your own trip to New England, the comments earlier this week have a few ideas for you!


Theresa said...

Eels, ewwwww! Worst gross out for me was a big snake with a toad half in his mouth...on the porch. Toad rescued, snake chased off.
I have to laugh, ask any sea going captain about the birds and all they will say is what a pain they are and choice comments about bird poop. :-)
That's it, I'm breaking out the frozen lobster meat I've been saving since the spring when it arrived as a gift.
Now if I could only find the darn split top buns on the west coast!

Jennifer said...

Yea - I have a fine line with seafood. Sometimes it's great, but I do have to not think about the more slimy aspects like eel! Love the pictures with the pilings - the line adds interest to the large body of water.

charlotte said...

I think it is definitively a seagull. I am not into birds, but we have a lot of seagulls around all the time, and this one looks exactly like the ones that are in our garden and everywhere around here. When we eat outside, someone has to guard the table, or else the seagulls serve themselves.
We have terns too and they have a pointed, sharp beak. And they are smaller, their wings in flight are more pointed than the seagulls. The terns are very aggressive when hatching on their eggs in early summer: they attack people, diving and scratching our heads. We always carry a stick when we have to pass an area infested by them.
We see cormorants also occasionaly, I like them very much!

Wool Enough said...

The picture of cormorants on pilings is beautiful. I love all the subtle tones of greys, blues, and browns.

Life Looms Large said...

Glad that I inspired you to eat lobster Theresa!! My work here is done! (Isn't it weird that lobster rolls taste better in those New England-style buns!)

That piling picture is a favorite of mine. I had the diagonal not as symmetrically across the original, but when I cropped to remove condos from the background I could not get it to be off-center at all.

Interesting that you have so many terns Charlotte. Around here, the gull with the black head is somewhat uncommon, and terns were endangered. They've restored some nesting areas, but we think of terns as reclusive and shy....and gulls as anything but!

Thanks for noticing the colors in the cormorant picture....I was attracted to the repetition, but now that you mention it, the color is nice too!


Sharon said...

Oh man, you always make the East Coast so inviting, and yet we never ever get east of Manhattan. We'll be in New York in October but I'm sad we won't see what you see.

Susan H said...

Sue that's so funny that you have given up with shore
birds.... I too love birds but find the shore birds impossible, though I absorb a bit from Frank. Gulls, sandpipers (by their funny running) and a few geese and ducks is about my limit. Sounds to me like you're learning about shore birds in spite of yourself!