Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Winter Is Coming...

     The air has a new smell to it, a new feel to it, and I sure don't like it. In terms of how I function, I am reptilian. Heat, sun, and warmth are what I love and winter brings out my true reptilian self as it dries out my skin and I even feel scaly. Summer is over, even with those last few attempts at 80 degree days, I think it has given up and fall is transitioning quick into winter.
     The bird species present also are reminding me of winter, specifically the waterfowl I saw on this morning before work. I hit two locations in my attempt to find some very specific birds, based on yesterday's reports. I stopped first at the Salt Marsh Nature Center and then stopped at Plumb Beach, before getting to work.
     The one plus for this morning is that the wind died down a lot from the past few days and the sun was bright, so at least there was that. Enjoy the sights...
A sun-lit song sparrow along the path.
This isn't the wigeon you're looking for.
I came here hoping to see the Eurasian Wigeon who has been here over the last few days, instead I came up only with an American Wigeon. My first of the season, so I suppose I can't truly complain-- plus, he is still a super handsome guy. 

A great blue heron along the marsh grasses.
A bird I always adore and appreciate, cormorants- a double-crested cormorant to be exact. With no ability to fully waterproof their feathers, they must dry them out so that they can successfully fly.
Meanwhile at Plumb Beach... one of may black-bellied plovers I saw.
A few sanderlings associated with the plovers, and were dwarfed by the plovers when side-by-side.

A herring gull feasts on a prize, a fish head. Eat them up, yum! (I had a childhood where these were normally songs we listened to, if that tells you a little bit about myself...)
Stumbled upon a few semipalmated plovers too-- like, practically didn't see them till they were underfoot, as I was busy spying the sandbars and mudflats for other things...
One of these birds is not like the other birds...
Came out to see some royal terns, and royal terns I got! I like this shot because, depending on what they are up to, in a crowd they can easily blend in, especially when asleep among laughing gulls. I also saw Forster's terns among them too, who are much smaller than the royal terns.
Aside from the wigeon and the plumage change among the black-bellied plovers and sanderlings, other tell-tale signs of winter are the arrival of brant. Copious numbers of brant. I also saw bufflehead, a common winter sea duck, males are boldly marked with black and white, females just with a light white blush to their cheeks.
While I don't like winter, I do look forward to what the change in season brings with it- the chance to see some new avian faces in our area. Just need to start getting out the layers, we'll get there.