waning summer

9.13.20 ~ Eastern Point

Beach season ended with Labor Day weekend. We took a walk down there the following weekend and were greeted by this solitary gull on the rocks.

On the ocean, gulls are good luck. Gulls are strong, brave, commanding. They are harbingers of land, of fish just below the surface, of a coming storm. Legend has it they hold the souls of drowned sailors and fishermen, so killing one is bad luck.
~ Sara Anne Donnelly
(Yankee, July/August 2020)

nonbreeding adult laughing gulls

When we got down to the sand we found a large gathering of gulls hanging out. They have reclaimed the beach! I was delighted because the tiny laughing gulls were actually on the sand, which is a much more appealing backdrop than the asphalt parking lot where I usually see them. There was quite an assortment of sizes and colors.

juvenile laughing gull and nonbreeding adult herring gull
laughing gull, second winter and nonbreeding adult herring gull
juvenile laughing gull
nonbreeding adult laughing gull
nonbreeding adult ring-billed gull
laughing gull and herring gull, both nonbreeding adults
these two seemed to be great friends
At first I thought the large one might be a great black-backed gull because he seems pretty huge, but he doesn’t quite fit the description. I dusted off my “Gulls of the Americas” reference book and discovered that there has been some cross-breeding between the great black-backed and herring gulls. Maybe that’s what’s going on here…
perhaps a version of yoga tree pose
nonbreeding adult ring-billed gull
juvenile laughing gull
waning summer
weed and post art

There really is a kind of insane beauty around us all the time. It’s just a question of learning to slow down, take a deep breath, and meet the moment.
~ Graham Nash
(Eye to Eye: Photographs)

It was fascinating watching this creature propelling itself through the murky water. It moves so fast I was surpised that some of the pictures actually came out!

The bars are still closed in Connecticut and now that the beach gate is open I’m sure it won’t be long before people start returning to the beach to socialize, bringing their dogs and leaving their trash, cigarette butts, and empty beer bottles. We will probably return to the woods soon, and try to do a better job of avoiding the poison ivy. Enjoying the autumn weather!

26 thoughts on “waning summer”

    1. I don’t know what it is, Kathy. Just can’t seem to get enough of them. 🙂 The temperatures do seem to be on a roller coaster this time of year. I think I need to go put some socks on…

  1. I’m smiling with Kathy at your gull photos, Barbara. 🙂

    You seem to have so many different varieties of gulls than we have on our beaches here. Maybe I should go to the beach this weekend and see if I can spot some of ours to show you. It’s been a while since I took a trip to the beach, but it’s only about ten minutes drive away!

    1. It was a great mental exercise trying to identify all of them, Joanne. Not sure I got them all correctly. 🙂 Oh I would LOVE to see some pictures of your gulls! I have a picture of a gull I took in Venice and a couple of them taken in Norway which I still haven’t been able to identify. You might be surprised to find more varieties than you think at your beach, once you start looking!

      1. I thought about that after I posted this comment – exactly how many gulls do we have in our area? Do I think they look all the same when they are actually different? I know how to attract them so I can take photos to check if there are differences too. Seagulls are such scavengers and will swoop down to anyone with food! We might have to buy some hot chips to eat at the beach, so husband can lure them close while I take photos. 🙂

        1. I had to look up hot chips, what we call french fries. 🙂 That’s what gulls like to take from people here, too. Looking forward to your gull photo adventure! (I wonder if you’ll actually need the chips. I’ve never had to feed the gulls, they seem to be friendly and curious characters and don’t mind being close to us. Maybe they’re not as wild here, living so close to humans, as they are in other parts of the world.)

          1. Oh no, I didn’t realise you called chips by a different name! I know what french fries are because they sell them here at McDonalds. 🙂

          2. McDonald’s french fires are the worst! Yikes. Do you have what we call steak fries? They are thick-cut french fries which they ususally make at our beach’s concession stand. Love them, and the gulls love them, too, although we don’t feed them. I understand cracked corn is better for them.

    1. I hope so, Melissa, but the chilly temperatures didn’t discourage them last spring. Will keep checking. My children used to get stung every summer 20-30 years ago, but the jellyfish back then weren’t this big or this colorful! I wonder if climate change is bringing some tropical ones up north here.

        1. Turns out my guess was wrong. After some poking around on the internet I think this was a lion’s mane jellyfish which only inhabits cold waters. They come in many colors! The very small, white-clear ones are the ones we used to see here, too.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Perhaps you can be a taxonomist in another life, as it is kind of like genealogy, in a way.

    1. You’re welcome, Susan! I think I can understand why Carl Linnaeus got such a kick out of his life’s work. 🙂

  3. Barbara – I love the quotes and all the gulls shots. That was interesting why you should never kill a gull (not that you would – you like them like I do). I had not heard that legend before. I’ve never seen a jellyfish, not in person anyway, so that was fascinating to read and see the pictures.

    1. Thank you, Linda, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I had heard about the gull/drowned sailor legend every once in a while, living here in New England with so many sailing ancestors. I’ve seen jellyfish before, but never one as big and as colorful as this one at our little beach! Maybe in an aquarium somewhere… 🙂

      1. What a treat to see that jellyfish – right time, right place Barbara. I’ve been to a few aquariums over the years, but have never seen one. I like your gull photos too – gulls are always so photogenic. I hope you get to see The Captain on one of your beach forays before the crowds get there.

          1. Sadly I don’t think it will be normal. I listen to Dr. Fauci’s thoughts on the vaccine (though sometimes now without someone saying he will be speaking, I don’t recognize his voice now that he has had the recent surgery) … he says it will be April, May or June 2021 until vaccines can be administered to most people and he is still uncertain that normalcy returns. I will think a long time before getting the vaccine and there are many others who agree, so that is a problem – the people who hold out, could still get COVID and spread it. I hate this eventual uncertainty that we face.

          2. I hear you! Learning to live with uncertainty can be very difficult at times. Going by what Dr. Fauci has been saying, we’ve decided to stay put for 2020 and 2021. Planning accordingly. Wish we could figure out a “safe” way to see the grandchildren in person at some point, though… I have a sinking feeling this winter will be more horrific than we might imagine. But in some ways we’re the lucky ones, living in situations where it is possible to shield ourselves from the worst risks. Stay safe, my friend!

  4. The waning is sad to me. My guy and I walked the Great Meadows refuge this morning. A month ago the marsh was filled with lilies and lotus flowers. Now, everything is dried up and brownish. What a difference. And we’re seeing orange leaves on the tips of trees. Wahhhhh. But the seasons must go on….

    1. So happy to hear your guy is recovered enough to get out for a walk! I know how depressing “dried and brownish” can be. We’re in a severe drought here, is it the same up in your neck of the woods? We’re planning a walk at Napatree Point tomorrow, to see the big waves Hurricane Teddy is sending in from way out at sea…

      1. Yes, drought here in the Boston suburbs also. After the publicity of the fires/hurricanes, eventually the news will mention “drought” also. Mother Nature is telling us a thing or two (or a dozen) about taking care of this Earth!

        1. We went out to Napatree Point and even sat on the beach after our walk, trying to soak up some energy from the earth. Big waves. Peace. But still, some plastic waste washed up on the shore. Pointed reminders that we need to do something!

          1. That sounds so idyllic – except for the trash. My guy picks up trash every time he sees it but it’s a little worrisome because you don’t know if there any germs on those bottles! By the way, I am now wearing shoes that are made out of recycled plastic water bottles…

          2. Yes, I’d hesitate to pick up trash these days, which is sad. Once a few years ago we found a used needle in our garden. The police weren’t interested, though. The other day I found a long swab. ??? Are your plastic shoes comfortable? Do they breathe? I could never wear Crocs because my feet would sweat too much!

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