sunlight by the sea

10.15.21 ~ Waterford Beach Park

This is my second annual Walktober post with Robin over at breezes at dawn. If you would like to, click the link to learn more about it and perhaps join us. Everyone is welcome! πŸ‚

great blue heron

For our walk I decided to visit a place my Birding in Connecticut book suggested. We had never been to Waterford Beach Park before. There was a long path through a wooded area and then through a salt marsh and then over a dune to get to the beach. And then we had a pleasant walk up and down the scenic beach on Long Island Sound, although the sand flies were pretty bad that day. It was also unseasonably warm. A few people were arriving with beach chairs as we were leaving.

great egret

Great blue herons stay here for the winter. I thought great egrets flew south but apparently during mild years they stay as far north as Massachusetts. The summer ones in Groton are gone, maybe they come over here for the winter. πŸ™‚ Or maybe the warm weather has merely postponed their departure. Tim noticed the interspecies friendship moment in the picture below.

great blue heron and great egret together
(taken from the John A. Scillieri, Jr. Overlook Wetlands path)

Waterford Beach Park offers nearly 1/4 mile long stretch of sandy beach and an extensive tidal marsh. Visitors have the rare opportunity to experience an unmodified natural beach with outstanding views of Long Island Sound.
~ Town of Waterford website

path over the tidal marsh and dune, leading to the beach

I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.

~ Wendell Berry
(The Peace of Wild Things)

tidal creek coming from Alewife Cove
beach roses

The beach views took our breaths away! A friendly town employee greeted us and when we told him we had never been there before he kindly filled us in on all sorts of events held there. A summer pass is quite expensive though, so I suspect all our visits will be off-season when there is no entrance fee.

looking west

Since we started looking for nature walks when the pandemic began we still keep finding “new” places near home that we’ve never been to before. It’s a good thing, though, since our health problems keep us from traveling too far away from our nest.

squabbling gulls

We spent quite a bit of time watching the gulls at the west end of the beach. They were having a feast. I can’t figure out if they are juvenile herring gulls or juvenile great black-backed gulls. And I don’t know what kind of creature they were eating inside those shells.

(?) the gulls were feasting on these
this calm one must have finished eating
looking east
slipper shell
art in the sand
beach rose and sand, summer lingering…

As we headed back through the marsh we could see out past Alewife Cove to the lighthouse we usually see from our beach. From our beach it has nothing but the water of Long Island Sound behind it. I’m not sure what the land mass is behind it from this vantage point. I’m going to try to find a map to study…

New London Ledge Light from tidal marsh at Waterford Town Beach

It looks like our fall colors are arriving later this year. We’ve been avoiding the woods because of the mosquitoes, of which we’ve had a bumper crop. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but last year’s drought kept the mosquitoes away and made all those autumn walks in the woods possible. May a first frost arrive here soon!

Thank you, Robin, for hosting Walktober! πŸ‚

49 thoughts on “sunlight by the sea”

    1. It’s funny how something you see all the time can look so different from another angle. I learned the lighthouse’s architectural style is called French Second Empire.

  1. I so enjoyed this trip to the seaside with you, Barbara, thanks so much. How fun to explore a new beach, and such a beautiful one, filled with mysteries and beauty. Although I am not a shell expert, those shells the gulls were enjoying look like mussels to me. Each photo and each discovery you made was special. I especially like the striking color of the beach roses. Striking fuzzy flower and beautiful slipper shell; and your gull action shots are great.

    1. Thanks for coming along, Jet! I appreciate your mussels identification. I see them once in a while on our beach but I’ve never seen so many in one place at one time. (And now that I think of it, I’ve seen them on my sister-in-law’s dinner plate at restaurants…) The gulls were very excited to find those mussels, and the discarded shells were everywhere. One would think they were arguing over the usual french fries and hot dogs at the beach! I do love my beach roses and was surprised to see them still budding and blooming this time of year. β˜€οΈ

  2. Thanks for letting me tag along on your Walktober walk, Barbara. What a lovely place for a stroll! I had to giggle at the squabbling gulls (they can get noisy, huh?), and that slipper shell is aptly-named. I’m with you on the mosquitoes — they never fail to find me, and it’s been a miserable summer here because of how many there are.

    1. Thank you for joining me, Debbie! Gulls certainly are a noisy bunch. 😊 But lovable. Those miserable mosquitoes, on the other hand, as my husband would say, have no redeeming value. And I can’t make up my mind if it’s safe to use a repellent or not so… Thank goodness for beaches, mosquitoes don’t like the bright sunlight. You have my sympathy! Do they bite Monkey, too? Or does his fur protect him?

        1. Lucky dog, at least where mosquitoes are concerned. Hang in there, Debbie, until mosquito season is over!

  3. A walk full of wonders! Love the action shots of the gulls and the best buds shot of the Great Blue Heron and Great Egret. Gorgeous beach rose, love the sand in the background! And very nice simplicity shot of the slipper shell, lovely too! I hope the mosquitoes are almost through for you, Barbara! They are still a bother here too.

    1. Thank you, Donna! I’m waiting for a hard frost to kill those little monsters. Our weatherperson said last night that this is the latest into the fall we’ve ever gone without a low temperature below 40Β°F at night. Doesn’t look promising for even a light frost any time soon. Sigh… But I will try to focus on the positive… The Great Blue Heron and Great Egret pair was my favorite capture of the day. 😊

  4. A lovely Walktober beach outing! I must remember this spot for a post-pandemic trip (in the off-season, hehe). Looks like the gulls were feasting on mussels. (My hubby sometimes orders these as an appetizer. However, I’m not a fan of shell fish. πŸ˜‰ )

    1. Thank you, Eliza! And thanks for confirming the mussels identification. After I read your comment I realized that I’ve seen mussels on my sister-in-law’s dinner plate in the past when we’ve eaten at seafood restaurants. Tim & I are not fans of shellfish, either, although we get teased, “What kind of New Englanders are you, anyway?” But we do love fish. The gulls can have the mussels. πŸ˜‰

    1. Welcome to my little blog home, Jo! Herons are so beautiful and often stand still long enough to get some nice pictures. Looks like your European gray herons are similar to our great blue herons…

  5. I suspect juvenile great black-backed gulls, but prefer your name squabbling gulls behaving like juveniles!

    My favorite is the duo friendship! What a great capture in the moment…

    1. Thank you, TD, I felt lucky to get that shot of the two species hanging out together. I’m inclined to go with great black-backed identification, too. I haven’t seen them much here at our usual beach this year, so maybe they’ve been over there across the river.

  6. What a delightful walk you had for Walktober Barbara. I would join you in a heartbeat. It reminds me a lot of the wildlife refuge, from the walkway over the tidal pool, to the areas where you saw the Heron and Great Egret. I am glad Tim pointed out the two side by side – it made for an interesting shot. I liked your squabbling gulls too … a lot of open beaks and wing flapping going on so it must involved food and someone eating more than their fair share. πŸ™‚

    1. It was so much fun watching those gulls squabbling over the mussels. I usually see that kind of behavior when they’re competing for our human food! 😊 It’s nice having Tim along for company and for help spotting things. It seems like we often notice completely different things. There is so much happening in the natural world it’s impossible to take it all in at once. It would definitely be delightful to take a walk with you some day. 😊

      1. It would be nice to have a companion to get a different perspective – yes, one day, who knows? a walk together would be nice. The gulls are pretty possessive over whatever morsels they get, be it Mother Nature’s snacks or human snacks.

        1. At least we can always take virtual walks with each other. 🍁 It’s nice to know that gulls are the same sorts of characters wherever they are found!

  7. Lovely Walktober, Barbara. Thanks for taking us along for the wonderful walk. How cool to get both egret and heron side-by-side like that! I saw the answer was provided for the empty shell. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Dale! Getting that picture was the high point of my day, and I was thankful Tim spotted the moment. Not sure how long they had been standing like that but the egret flew off shortly after I got the picture. 😊

  8. Thanks for taking us on your walk. All your photos show a lovely place that seems so tranquil. I like quiet. I especially like your pic of the gull who seems to be wistfully looking into his future.

    1. You’re welcome, Ally. I like tranquility, too. I’ve often spotted gulls who seem to be meditating and I wonder how different their personalities and approaches to life might be. I bet this beach is very noisy with people in the summer, though.

    1. Thank you, Frank! Yes, indeed, it was one year ago when I met you through Robin’s Walktober event. Because of the pandemic I was able to participate for the first time and met quite a few new blogging friends. 😊

  9. Thank you, Barbara. This was a wonderful walk. I love that beach and seeing the heron and egret together like that was an additional treat. πŸ™‚

    1. You’re welcome, Robin. Looking forward to reading about all the walks you’re collecting from your readers for Walktober. πŸ™‚

    1. You’re welcome, Dawn, and thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚ I do wonder about the migrations. The first great blue I ever photographed here was in February of 2019! And it was very cold!!

  10. Well interestingly, I did read and comment on this post last year Barbara, even mentioning the word “Walktober” – for sure next year I would like to join in Robin’s “Walktober” and maybe I won’t be as far behind posting my photos as this year. I hope to have some gorgeous leaf walk photos this year. This morning while sorting photos I saw my reflections photos – a serene Coan Lake at Heritage Park with gorgeous yellow and red leaf reflections. October is just perfect in every way.

    1. I’m always saying my brain can only hold so much, it’s no wonder we forget a lot of posts we read and the comments we make! I’ll be looking forward to seeing whatever you decide to post for Walktober — you’ll likely have a hard time choosing which walk to highlight.

      1. Yes, I can add the “Walktober” lingo to my posts now. I am glad I went out every weekend and part of the reason, not just to enjoy the long walks and bulk up the miles, but to ensure I had enough walks/photos until Springtime. I may even be able to break some treks into different parts, like when I got on a new trail and discovered the Battle of Brownstown Memorial and saw a Starling murmuration, plus got a lot of colorful trees – that was three weeks ago. So much to write about and photograph … Autumn is a fleeting season but always has been my favorite.

          1. We had a rainy day today and more heavy fog tomorrow morning, so I may be running the car and staying put again. I was hoping with the mild weather to get out more this week in advance of the time change.

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