high tide with storm surge

2.1.21 ~ my dwarf river birch during the snowstorm
from my kitchen window

So, on Monday we got 10 inches of snow before it turned to sleet. Snow is fun, sleet is not. On Tuesday, Groundhog Day, we drove down to the beach around noon but didn’t stay too long. The gale was lingering with a storm surge at high tide and the wind was still howling. There were no shadows, therefore, according to tradition, spring will come early. Yay!

2.2.21 ~ young great black-backed gull, Eastern Point

It turned out to be a nice day for photographing gulls. 🙂 They love to pose.

another young great black-backed gull
which side is better?
a friendly ring-billed gull came over when I asked him to
he turned to listen to me talking to him
very high tide ~ waves past the lifeguard chairs
churning sea
storm surge almost higher than the breakwater

After marveling at the high water we drove up the road along the Thames River.

flooded marsh across the street from the beach
brant in Thames River
a pair of mallards very intent on something tasty in the flooded grass
they never lifted their heads and my fingers were freezing
another mallard landed nearby in the snow to investigate

And then we left, shivering but still happy to have gotten out for a short while! I didn’t see the song sparrows but then again, I didn’t wade through the soggy grass to get to their thicket. I hope they’re all right. The water was almost up to their home. It’s amazing how birds survive the storms.

32 thoughts on “high tide with storm surge”

  1. “There were no shadows, therefore, according to tradition, spring will come early. Yay!”
    I love the photos from that kind of weather – so subdued and soft – and i LOVE that you can talk to seagulls. I am quite jealous. I have never experienced a sympathic gull, except Jonathan Seagull. At the southern Norway, they are more like vultures in the way they eat. I am in awe of the birdlife in the US – so exotic to me!

    1. Thank you, Leelah! I do love the soft winter light — you must get a lot of it in Norway. Our gulls have their moments of aggression and greediness and most people here think of them as pests, akin to rats. But for some reason I’ve always found them to be friendly and comical, and even though I never feed them they still approach me and allow me to get pretty close to them. I feel a deep affinity for them. And I find them to be very photogenic! So happy you’re enjoying the pictures!

  2. Love the view of that snowy tree outside your kitchen window. Your post was so great. I love the birds and the water. Gulls are very entertaining and not one bit afraid of people. I call them little clowns.

    1. Thank you, Peggy. That tree gives me so much pleasure in all the changing seasons and so much comfort when I cannot get outside. That’s a good way to describe gulls — they are friendly, comical little clowns. 🙂

    1. Yeah, that sleet was a definitely a bummer. Turned the snow to a slushy mush. I wondered how the gulls were in such pleasant moods down there after going through that storm. Thanks for your kind words!

  3. What great photos these are — and how brave you were to venture out in that messy weather to get ’em! I never realized gulls are so friendly. If you’d had food, they’d have probably eaten right out of your hand!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! Not sure how brave I was, my cabin fever was getting pretty bad and fortunately a few gulps of freezing fresh air was enough to cure it for a while. Gulls are friendly and very curious creatures. 🙂 I love them!

  4. I so enjoyed this bracing winter walk, Barbara. Your appreciation and acceptance of the surroundings, despite the frigidity; your observations and photos of the churning sea, surging river and beautiful wildlife. Delightful post and much appreciated.

    1. Bracing! Now there’s a word I could use much more often. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this brief winter interlude. The tail end of that storm lingered for two days with gray skies, wind, and occasional snow flurries… Sun finally came out this morning.

  5. Winter wonderland! Your dwarf river birch capture is lovely, how pretty to see out your window. A wonderful venture in the cold, you found others braving it too. 🙂 Yes, it is amazing how birds survive storms and to watch the change of tide heights with the force of nature.

    1. Thank you, Donna! I’ve become great friends with that birch — we planted it as a sapling seven years ago and it must be about 8′ tall and 8′ wide by now. We’re always trimming it but it is very happy and often has chickadees and sparrows chirping away in its branches. And it gently obscures the view of the condo parking lot. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ally. I couldn’t find much online, except that their layer of downy feathers keeps them warm and they sometimes move to inland ponds and lakes for the duration of the storms at sea…

    1. Thank you, Ju-lyn! Everyone seems to be enjoying that birch tree as much as I do! Seeing it in the morning makes the day brighter for me. 🙂

  6. It IS amazing how birds survive these storms. Your photos are just incredible, Barbara. We got 20 inches of snow and no sleet. My guy trudged through the snow every day to make sure our bird feeder and the suet feeder were full. The birds need the food for their energy. They sheltered during the storm though – hidden someplace safe. By the way, swans are still in ponds/lakes here in NE and the last couple of weeks several have had to be rescued from iced water. I’d think they’d go somewhere warmer! But then, we’re still here, aren’t we? 🙂

    1. Thank you, Pam! I had some very cooperative birds to aim my camera at. 🙂 20 inches! It’s been many years since we had that much snow in one storm! I’m sure both you and your songbirds appreciated your guy’s efforts to keep them well fed, and therefore, as warm as possible. I can picture them snug in the crooks of trees and branches, nestling closely on the side away from the direction of the wind. But shorebirds and waterfowl are harder to picture in a safe warm place, although they do have a layer of downy feathers…

  7. Your photos are beautiful. I love the one of the brant in the river. Not sure why. Maybe because there seems to be movement to it. I enjoy the gulls, too, although they rarely listen to anything I have to say. lol!

    1. Thank you, Robin! I’m glad you liked the brant because I was frustrated that the camera didn’t focus on its eye. Funny the things that bug me… Not sure why gulls listen to me, but I love them for it. 💙 (Now if only those mallards would listen…)

    1. Thank you, Eliza! I do love my gulls! I’ve never lived more than an hour away from the sea and can’t imagine living without it nearby. We’re 30 feet above sea level here, a mile inland, so we feel pretty safe from storm surges — so far. 🙂

  8. You had a wonderful day with your camera Barbara. What a handsome and cooperative seagull you had there and clearly he/she enjoyed posing for you up close. A nice walk at the shoreline with the high tide makes you wonder how many days before you walk along in shirt sleeves and hear the gulls on a warm and sunny Summer day. The waterfowl looked cold wading around in the water – hope it was something tasty they found. That duck stepping through the snow with his bright-orange feet made me smile. Like you, I get a kick out of their orange feet. The way it is stepping reminds me of a kid walking in galoshes. My mom used to call them “puddlers” and I don’t know if that was her own term or a Canadian term for galoshes. But they were stiff plastic and you couldn’t “break them in” and I felt like I walked stiff-legged as I couldn’t bend my feet in them.

    1. I have to admit that I’m hoping for a summer when I will feel safe sitting at the beach, eating my supper, and watching the gulls. Last summer, even though they limited the capacity at the beach and took away the picnic tables, there were still too many people wandering around and not keeping their distance, even though masks were required. We tried bringing our own lawn chairs but people still got too close for comfort. Sigh. It’s getting harder to remember “the good old days” of not minding when people pass by too closely or stop to chat without a mask on. My parents called galoshes “rubbers.” “Puddlers” sounds more fun! I used to dislike wearing them, especially when other kids weren’t wearing them, and would take them off as soon as I was out of sight of the house. (Peer pressure!) 😂

      1. I’m betting that Summer you’re yearning for won’t be this year; not after all I hear about this new variant and now the double masks being suggested. I had been wearing multiple masks and am having such issues with the fogging up of my glasses in this extreme cold, despite using FogAway to combat the problem. Before the ice, snow and bitter cold, I had to wear the mask down and just pull it up if someone spoke to me, but I don’t like touching my face or having to adjust the mask when I’m out in public. I try to get to the Park early if I can to avoid contact with people, so I don’t have to mask up over my nose. It has not been a big problem until the last 2-3 weeks – we had another cold spell before the current one. I was famous for taking those puddlers off once I rounded the corner too. That and rolling my skirt up until the nosy neighbor “reported” me to my mother. 🙂

        1. I’m afraid you might be right about the summer. It’s snowing again this morning so I might as well enjoy the winter and try harder to live in the present moment. I think we will keep up the double masks even after we’re vaccinated. I’m still not sure when it will be “safe” to see our grandchildren.

          You made me smile about rolling up your skirt and having a neighbor reporting you to your mother. 🙂 Your childhood sounds so similar to mine. I was constantly amazed at the things my mother somehow knew. 😉

          1. It snowed last night, snowing now – Mother Nature has cranked up the snow machine. I’d try to enjoy the Winter if I could at least walk as I always walk in the Winter (except a Polar Vortex as it is really too dangerous), but it’s a week today due to the snow/ice/brutal cold. It was sunny with a blue sky which I noticed while shoveling. Think Summery thoughts to get you to Spring. I plan on wearing a mask for a very long time afterward also and use safe practices, but I was always a bit of a germaphobe anyway, especially in Winter due to the flu.

            In 8th or 9th grade, when going shopping for school clothes, we had a school dress code of no pants in junior high and I convinced my mom that skirts were better than dresses. I thought I was pretty smart, until nosy ol’ Mrs. Elmore had to be a tattletale.

          2. I’m with you, I’d be out there walking if the cold wasn’t so intense and if it was plain snow instead of snow with layers of ice. Sigh… Not sure when I’ll get out there again, we have another mess due tomorrow and another on Tuesday. I guess I’ll stick to yoga and do some more family history research.

            It’s funny how we wanted our skirts so short back then. Now I like a long comfy skirt. And I think everyone now, male and female, is wearing their clothes way too tight for my tastes! I’ll stick to my relaxed fit. 🙂

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