A Red-throated Loon – call her Kate!

I was stunned today to find a Red-throated Loon in close to shore as I walked the Northeast Beach. This is a rare bird for me, at least until this fall, and I find her(?) very elegant and graceful. So I grabbed a bunch of shots and put them here. I love the long, slender neck, the slightly upturned beak, the expressions of curiosity as she spots me, and the sleek body, rarely seen because it’s designed for underwater work. She reminds me of a young Katherine Hepburn – hmmmm, and come to think of it, the Common Loon reminds me a bit of Spencer Tracy ūüėČ

(Note – there’s a button for full screen mode for this slide show which you can then exit by hitting “escape” key. )

This wasn’t the only highlight of today’s walk – another one in inclement weather where there was a constant mist out of the northeast on a light wind that raised more chop on the bay than the ocean. In any event, as I came over the causeway I spotted a Brant¬† – a juvenile I believe.¬† I’m used to seeing these in flocks – and not very often. In fact, I can only remember seeing them here once before a few years ago.¬† So maybe this one’s lost, or maybe he’s just a rebel off doing his own thing. In any event, they remind me of a small version of the Canada Goose. When they mature there’s a white ring around their neck – this one has only the slightest hint of a ring.

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.

And remember the Bufflehead dude from the other day Рthe lone male? Well, this time he had a female companion Рand there were several others  along the way, but in small groups.

After walking the beach I turned inland towards the towers and couldn’t help noticing that while the landscape is pretty bleak – here’s a view looking out at a passing ship –

Click image for larger view.

there is an awful lot of color here if you look closely. One yellow flower seems to not know winter is coming. I see it in a small bunches throughout the island. Seems to be the only thing left in bloom right now.

The bittersweet berries remain lovely.

And here are a couple of other plants that I found appealing, but I don’t have a clue what they are.

Saw quite a bit of small bird activity – but little I could identify. Maybe a Yellow Rump or three and I’m certain of a pair of Mockingbirds.¬† But most were too far away and too fast for me.

On the way out I stopped on the causeway to admire some Eiders. Seems they’ve learned to avoid humans now that hunting season is here. But they’re smart. They didn’t fly – just sort of swam real fast with their wings. Could they be doing this on purpose? Perhaps they know they can only be shot when in the air? Nawwww . . .

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