During my hike today at the beginning of the month, the bay is silent compared to the almost constant background chatter of small tweets, whistles and the high “kews” of the yellow legs that are heard during the summer.
When I went into town, I saw one of the few birds that has remained sitting on a dumpster at a local park: a seagull. I have a friend who insists that “seagulls are pretty”, but I tell her that my view of gulls plummeted in my early 20’s, when I was attacked by a mob of gulls while eating French fries at a beachfront café. Okay, I wasn’t exactly attacked, but they swooped down on the table I was sitting at, and began grabbing fries to my great surprise. When I went inside to complain about the gulls, he shrugged and said “That’s why I tell people not to feed the birds.” So, to me, gulls are…beggars and garbage eaters. Oh, I realize that they are excellent fishers, and are somewhat picturesque when they float on the wind above the bay, but in the end, I can’t quite forgive them for the French fry attack.
On another day, I saw an eagle flying overhead. I stopped to take his photo.
Now that the days are shorter and the leaves are dropping, I see them more often perched high in the trees, which they use as lookouts when hunting prey. That same day, on the way home, I saw a hawk perched in the trees next to the marsh. He has the fiercest look on his face!
I have friends that cajole me to go with them to look for rocks (pudding stones, which can be found by those who value them). Of course, I spend most of my time looking for birds instead, even though there aren’t as many around as a month ago. On one day in November, I saw what is possibly the last yellow leg; he has been hanging around a protected part of the bay. The fishing is still good, and there are insects on warm days, so there is still a food source. I am concerned about what will happen when the weather gets colder, though, as it will soon, in spite of the wonderfully warm weather we are having this year.
There are geese still here, too. They usually stay until the bay freezes over, and I enjoy seeing them floating on the water.
At lunchtime, I heard the most furious pecking, and looked outside. There was a hairy woodpecker on my friend’s wooden garden lighthouse, pecking to beat the band. There must be ants or something in the wood that caused this outburst from this little bird. He gave me a slightly annoyed look when I came close to take his picture, but then went right back to pecking when I went back inside.
There are three swans that I often see floating on the bay together, and another lone swan that seems to keep by itself. The weather is lovely, and the birds are enjoying it while it lasts. I am too!
Now, there are so many fewer birds around, as the fall migration is winding down from its peak. I did see a mourning dove in a tree, and took its picture because they are pretty birds with their large, surprised-looking eyes and soft colors.
Now, the main birds I see on the lake are mallards. I saw a pair resting in the evening by the shore at Misery Bay, their necks tucked into their feathers. They look as if they are trying to stay warm as the evenings get chillier. It’s a good thing they have down underneath their other feathers!
The mergansers are still here, getting ready to migrate soon. I saw a flock on the bay one morning, floating across. They let the current slowly take them south on the bay, and they were feeding as they floated.
Even with the colder weather, with snow starting, the mergansers are still here. . Later in the day, I saw a hawk flying overhead. I hope that the mergansers stay safe, because I know the hawk is probably hungry!