On a muggy mid-morning walk I was feeling a bit lonely because I had seen hardly any birds or butterfies and I was nearly to the southwest point of the island! Then, about 20-feet ahead of me I noticed that all the fist-sized rocks weren’t!
Rocks don’t move. Not on their own. Sanderlings do. But never had I stumbled upon so many in one place – at least a couple hundred. And at first I didn’t even know that. I was concentrating on perhaps 50, as you can see in the above shot. What’s really cool is how many of them appear to be juveniles – the ones with the high contrast, black and white backs. But we also see adults – an even, lighter grey tone. And if you look closely we appear to have some juveniles turning into adults.
This was great. I took a few more shots hoping to get some interesting action sequences and in-flight shots eventually. As I shot I noticed that the flock was much larger than I first thought. Then bingo – I took a picture and my viewfinder went black!
My camera is the original Canon Rebel 300D introduced in 2003 and bought by me about six months after the introduction. I guess that make s it old by digital standards and I was thinking of upgrading – some time down the road. Well, the road just ended abruptly. I turned away from the Sanderlings and fooled with the camera turning it on and off – a sort of kicking the tires action. And slowly the viewfinder came back. Whew. I took lots of additional photos – about 100 – not only of Sanderlings, but of lots of other things. And when I got back, here’s what every photo taken after the blackout looked like:
So I’m off to upgrade ASAP, most likely to the next-to-latest version of the Rebel, the Canon EOS Rebel T2i, having spent the night reading reviews. This gets high marks as “the best digital single lens reflex under $1,000.” Which means it’s more than I want to spend, but the economy needs my help – buying is the patriotic thing to do. Even if it wasn’t made in the USA, what is? And at least the retailer is here 😉
It was a wonderful walk, and the early part wasn’t a total loss. I’m discovering the Buckeye butterfly has the same habit as flying grashoppers. That is, it seems to really like the dirt road and suddenly flys up in front of you and lands again 10 feet down the road where – at least in my experience – it frequently spereads its wings apparently gathering solar energy. I was able to get in real close on this one and so have my best buckeye pictures to date.
And speaking of those flying grasshoppers, the one place I always seem to encounter them is on the path between the tower and the southwest point.
Just before I got to the flock of sandelings I enocuntered a lone semipalmated plover. I think this is a juvenile – notice the completely black beak?
I also noticed where, on the east path just beyond the towers, the folks with the backhoe who were picking up that stranded boat the other day simply bulled their way through the underbrush. Not pretty – but it will heal. More curious to me were the couple of trucks that headed out to the tower just as I entered the road from the parking lot. (The gate was still closed, but these were state workers on official business.)
Turns out someone had fallen and injured themselves in/on the highest tower a week or two ago. So these folks were dispatched to try to seal up the entrance to the tower so it won’t happen again.
The curious thing is this news story reports that the man was climbing the outside of the tower and fell and possibly broke his leg. The state worker I talked to seemed to think he had fallen inside the tower – and, of course, that’s why they were sealing it up so others could not go inside. Maybe some reader knows the truth? I’m not particularly trusting of the paper – it just reported that Westport was having a special town meeting the other night on two budget articles. It wasn’t. It was having a special election. Rather important mistake since the election requires going to the polls and voting during the day while the meeting requires going to the high school at night. So was it inside or outside the tower? And does it matter?
My own preference would be to have the state invest some real money – not a whole lot – and restore the towers to something like their WWII status and allow people to walk up a spiral staircase and stand on top and get a wonderful view of the island, Horseneck beach, the ocean and bay. Would beat heck out of the ruined look now – not to mention the art display which while impressive in some parts, certainly clashes with the environment.