We’ve had two days of showers and this morning as I drove across the causeway it was 40 degree with a chill easterly wind – a sign of things to come, and the clouds and sea completed the warning. It was strictly steel on steel – well, metalic anyway. I guess you would call that band in the middle copper. In any even it just communicated a certain cold, hardness.
East winds generally mean rain around here and apprently after two days of showers this is just a lull. There were enough holes in the clouds at 4 am for me to test a new telescope for about half an hour. But by 8 am when I got to Gooseberry it was mostly overcast. And when I got home I learned there’s a major nor’easter brewing with more rain and high winds scheduled for tomorrow. But the “steel on steel” phrase leaped out at me when I saw this image I had snapped of a lone Eider on the west side of the causeway. (An hour later when I left there were a couple dozen Eiders in this area.)
Heading south along the central road there were few songbirds and no butterflies. I looked for Monarchs hunkered down in the ragweed, but saw none. It was feeling pretty lonely until this little guy put in an appearance. The question to ask is this:
“Why is this not a Yellow-rumped Warbler?”
The answer is, it “is a Yellow-rumped Warbler.” But Donald and Lillian Stokes in their helpful “Field Guide to Warblers,” tell you to ask that question whenever you see a warbler because “as many as 80-90 percent of the warblers seen can be Yellow-rumps.” So you first learn to identify the field marks of the Yellow-rump, who changes, of course, based on season and sex. Know them well and and you have a great starting point for any small bird you see. The obvious field marks with this little guy are the yellow patches on the side of the breast and the split white eye ring – the top half of which looks more like dull, whitish eyebrow. Oh yes – and under the right conditions, look for a yellow rump! Like when she/he lifts his skirts and moons you!
I walked past the towers and onto East Beach where it was high tide with an occasional crashing roller that made me jump clear.
When I got to East Point I headed off the beach for a bit to enjoy the pure sense of wildness Gooseberry has to offer. It just feels like you’re a lot further from nowhere then you are.
And that was it for photos – my battery was dead. Darn! I knew I had one bum battery, but didn’t know which one it was. I switched an almost drained battery for what I thought was a full one before going out – but it was the one that only looks full. It lasted just half a walk! Ah well – now I have labelled it and will use only in emergencies. I came back by way of Northeast Beach because I wanted to see if there were any shorebirds. Haven’t seen any for a couple weeks. Nope. No shore – ooops, wait. Just south of the parkling lot, while I was trying to recall the name of the Ring-billed Gull (a senior moment) – here comes a little grey fellow with long black beak and black legs right up to my feet – and trailing him is a friend, playing in the small, rollers there – well, feeding in the rollers. Two Sanderlings! I expect them to be around all winter – we’ll see. But it was fun to see them, though I’m sorry I don’t have the photographic evidence – as I say, I bird by camera and that’s quickly becoming a habit.Feels funny without it – but did make me look closer and note all field marks that I could. Yep – Sanderlings for sure! (Earlier picture.)