healing by the sea

4.25.22 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic
photo by Tim

Monday we were planning to check on mama goose but my gut was having a very bad morning. My sweet husband offered to go by himself to see if there were any goslings, and brought back the picture above. No little ones yet and he reported that papa goose was still missing. He went inside the nature center and inquired about the situation. A staffer said they were concerned about the avian influenza but had no answers.


By late afternoon I was feeling a little better and decided to go down to the salt water and air for some healing energy. The first wildflower of the season at the beach, a dandelion, was poking through the stone wall and concrete!

4.25.22 ~ Eastern Point, Groton

When we got down on the sand a friendly ring-billed gull came over to to see what we were up to. I must have taken 30 pictures of him as he enjoyed our company, and we his. There was not another gull on the beach. I thanked him for the lovely pictures with the sand as a backdrop, rather than the ugly tar of the parking lot. 🙂

ring-billed gull

I never get tired of communing with my beloved gulls. But with a quick glance out over the breakwater I spotted a common grackle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one at the beach before.

common grackle

On the way home I suddenly remembered that the weeping cherries were probably blossoming more fully than when we saw them the week before. So off we went. It was a lovely scene, complete with creeping phlox, a patch of heather, and a robin.

4.25.22 ~ Walt’s Walls & Woods, Groton
heather
American robin
creeping phlox
weeping cherry blossoms

We stopped by the grocery store and picked up some salmon for supper and felt grateful for a pleasant end to the day.


Tuesday morning we decided to check on mama goose again. Good news! Papa goose was back, along with his buddy the mallard!

4.26.22 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
mama goose looking happier
the mallard buddy looks a little worse for wear
~ what on earth were they up to while they were gone?
papa goose photo by Tim

I just LOVE this picture Tim took of papa goose! I don’t think we’ll have a chance to check again until Friday. Hope we don’t miss the hatchlings…

32 thoughts on “healing by the sea”

  1. Papa Goose lives! Yay, I’m happy to read that for your sanity as well as Mama Goose + the goslings survival. I adore creeping phlox and your photos are perfect. Those flowers don’t do well around here. I tried for years then gave up. I’ll enjoy your photos instead.

    1. Fascinating to me the ranges different plants have. Growing up with creeping phlox everywhere it never occurred to me that it was a regional feature. It makes me wonder what you might have in your area that won’t grow here. I’m glad papa goose returned to his post, I was worried mama goose had an absentee father for a mate.

  2. Sorry you didn’t feel well, but I’m glad you perked up enough to go on this lovely outing. That phlox is stunning — how I wish I could grow it here! We have Robins and Grackles, too, but no Gulls. And no sandy beach. Sigh. Glad the Goose couple is hanging in there — won’t be long until they become parents!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. It seems like my blogging friends in the Midwestern states are all reporting the same thing about not being able to grow creeping phlox. It helps me to appreciate this spring delight all the more! I was really surprised to see a grackle at the beach. Keeping my fingers crossed that we get to see the goose hatchlings!

  3. This is an immense blogpost. What a rich nature – and all the colors! I very rarely see that in this country – but it may be different in other parts of the country. So this blog today is a cornucopia with life and colors and beauty.

    1. I’ve been waiting impatiently for months to see all these springtime colors again! It’s fun to drive around and see what people are growing in their gardens. A man named Walter Watrous spent many years creating this wonderful place we can enjoy now.

    1. Do you have creeping phlox in your garden, Eliza? I’m so glad this property was donated to the Groton Open Space Association and that they will maintain this beautiful ledge.

      1. I used to have white phlox draping my stone wall, but it became so enmeshed with grass that I took it out. It’s short blooming season didn’t make it worth struggling to keep grass-free. I think its best use is as a semi-wild cover amidst stones like this ledge.

        1. That’s interesting. I wonder if there is a problem with grass getting into the phlox here. I suspect someone is doing some sort of landscaping maintenance since the garden’s creator died. Most of the open space association’s properties are wooded and wild.

  4. Those captures of the cherry blossoms and creeping phlox are gorgeous! Glad Papa Goose is back, wonder where the two buddies were off to, misbehaving, hehe. I hope you get to see the goslings! Not knowing how long she was on her eggs, I watched a Mama Mallard for almost two weeks, hoping to see her ducklings. I finally did and got lots of photos, even got to watch them leave the nest the following morning and head to the waters with Mama. Sweet stuff!!

    1. Thank you, Donna! I’m so glad I remembered to check back on the cherry blossoms. I’ve also been wondering just where the two buddies were off to. Probably up to no good, but Tim’s thinking is more charitable, that papa may have been off looking for other geese to form a nursery with since these two are all alone on the pond. I wonder what mama thinks of the mallard inserting himself into the family dynamic. 🙂 How wonderful you got see and photograph the little ducklings, especially when they left the nest!

  5. A perfect title – “Healing By The Sea”. Your pictures are gorgeous. Wish I was there to investigate this lovely place. Your husband took a perfect picture pf Papa Goose.

    1. Thank you, Peggy. I always find it interesting how sometimes two people photographing the same scene wind up taking pictures with very different perspectives. I’m glad we caught the blossoms before they fade away.

  6. I can’t tell you how invested I am in the goose family and I’m OVER JOYED that papa is back. Maybe they went to a bar and got into a rustle? You know how men can be….

    I’m glad that you were feeling better by the end of the day and I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who talks to nature. I tell ALL my butterflies how beautiful they are.

    The cherry trees and phlox are so beautiful; it that doesn’t fill your soul up with good feelings, I don’t know what will.

    1. I kind of imagined papa goose and the mallard getting into some sort of scuffle when they were out and about. Not sure that bachelor mallard is such a good influence on papa goose.

      It’s nice to know you talk to your butterflies. I started talking to trees when I was a child and to this day I talk to our holiday tree before we cut it down, and thank it daily when I water it in the house. I’m so grateful we caught the cherry trees and phlox at their peak.

  7. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you and Tim to see goslings soon! My guess is Papa goose and Buddy duck went on a hunting adventure because they were just plain anxious with boredom waiting for Mama to stop sitting and do something, just do anything other than sit. Fun to see them back!

    When I viewed your photos of the ring-billed gull, I realized that I didn’t truly know what type of gulls we have here. So there you go sending me on an adventure into educating myself again. You are my bird influencer!

    I couldn’t remember what our laughing gulls bills looked liked. Now, I know the difference! We do get the ring-billed gulls in Texas mostly inland on the lakes.

    The laughing gulls have black heads and dark reddish bills. They are in abundance here, laughing for free food, and laughing at all the tourists who throw bread, every where really.

    My mother said that she saw the laughing gulls stealing the steak right off the hot bbq pit on her deck when they lived on a water canal! But I love the Gulls anyway!

    When the weather gets rough on the bay the laughing gulls do fly around my cottage. I’ve learned it’s a great indicator of what is going on weather-wise. I love hearing them laughing!

    I’m happy that you captured photos of the ring-billed gulls in the sand. One smart gull.

    1. We did get to see the goslings! And papa goose is standing by them, alert and scanning the horizon for any possible dangers. We kept our distance so there were no warning hisses needed. 🙂

      Since we started these walks it’s been amazing how much I’ve learned from fellow bloggers and from the research what I find inspires me to do. It’s an incredible world we live in, and there is so much to discover close to home without needing to travel to find beauty and marvels.

      I love laughing gulls, they are so petite. We see them here only in August and September so I imagine they are migrating. The look so cute mingling with the larger gulls we have here. Like you, I love my gulls in spite of their thievery. One once stole my hot dog right out of the bun. He swallowed it whole! (It’s largely a human created behavior — if we didn’t feed them they wouldn’t associate us with food. I never feed gulls!)

      1. Hot dog story gave me a good laugh. A laughing gull stole my hamburger slider right before my eyes! I could relate about your hot dog. I use to frequent the island’s restaurant overlooking the gulf and fishing pier. Well, not frequent. Really it was my sunning regular hangout that I would sit soaking it all in for hours, sometimes half a day. They all knew me, so the cooked up another hamburger slider for me.

        Back in the sixties when knowledge of feeling the sea gulls was unknown, we did throw bread as children. As we grew, and tourism became a thing here, knowledge and signage came into being. How lucky I was to experience the National Seashore before it became known and spoiled with crowds of people leaving all their litter behind for the locals to plan volunteers to pickup. I was so lucky and fortunate in my childhood. That’s when I feel in love with the beach and seagulls!! Dear to my heart and wellness.

        I hear them outside my window at home just know as I’m typing. Sweet laughing.

        1. That’s was nice of them to cook up another burger for you. At our beach there is a sign at the concession stand warning customers that the gulls like to snatch food and that no free food replacements will be available if you become a victim!

          I cringe at our local beach when I see people feeding the gulls in spite of the signs stating that it is not allowed. It’s a sad commentary on society that so many people feel free to ignore the rules. Every time I see dog paw prints on the sand I get angry, too. (Dogs are allowed at the city beach on a leash everywhere except on the sand.) When I can I like going to a different beach farther away where there are no restrooms or concession stands and very few people.

          You were indeed lucky to have a beach in your childhood. (I grew up in the woods, full of other wonders.) I feel blessed to have given a childhood by the sea to my children.

          1. “(Dogs are allowed at the city beach on a leash everywhere except on the sand.)” that is interesting, Barbara.

  8. Oh such glorious photos of SPRING, Barbara!! They are always lovely to see, but the cherry trees and other spring flowers were above and beyond your usual offerings. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, Liz!! I’m so pleased you enjoyed my side trip to some cultivated beauty. With all the bear sightings around here I suspect there won’t be as many walks deep into the woods in the coming days…

  9. Glad you were feeling better by the afternoon and got out for a jaunt and a photo shoot with the gull. He sure was photogenic. I hope you see and photograph The Captain this year. Mother Goose looks so serene sitting on the nest and has so many more downy feathers around her than my “Mother Goose” did. Tim did great capturing those white eyebrows. 🙂 I hope you get to see the hatchlings soon Barbara. The colors of Spring as so fabulous – even the lowly dandelion. The phlox were pretty and the blossoms on the trees were so delicate looking.

    1. Thank you, Linda. The gull seemed to have an extra-friendly personality, as if he could read my mind and knew exactly what I was after. 🙂 I’m not sure why, but I have the feeling the Captain might be gone forever. I only saw him twice last year, once in June and once in July. I used to see him each and every time I went to the beach. He might have been saying good-bye last summer. Yup, we did get to see the hatchlings! So many things are coming to life this time of year. It’s funny how much I see those white eyebrows on papa goose now that you mentioned them. I wonder how long it would have taken Tim or me to notice them if you hadn’t — lol!

      1. I’m so excited you got to see the hatchlings Barbara! I wonder how old they will have to be before you can tell if they got those white eyebrows? They have a way to go before they get their dark plumage. Those white eyebrows give Papa a quizzical look. 🙂

        I’m sorry if that is true about the Captain. He might have found a person or place where he is able to get food on a regular basis and is hanging out there now – it may be easier due to his wounded and misshapen foot. He is to you as Parker is to me. I look for him every time I go to the Park.

        1. I hope we get to the nature center to see the goslings again this week. There’s a lot of rain in the weather forecast and we have medical appointments. I’m also wondering if any of his children have inherited papa’s white eyebrows. 🙂

          I wouldn’t blame the Captain for finding a more hospital place to live in. With all the blasted dogs and that loudspeaker broadcasting gull distress calls to scare the gulls away… It gets on my nerves and destroys any sense that one is in a natural setting… I suspect I’ll be frequenting other beaches myself this summer.

          1. I hope you get there too Barbara. We also have a rainy week and tomorrow is an all-day soaker, with an inch of rain. I wonder how old they are before they get that dark plumage and will maybe sport the white brows? With our goslings, they leave in June (still a mottled gray color) and by the time they return, you can’t tell them from the parents. Not even in size.

            I hate they allow dogs on the beach and that would be a turnoff for me too, just like allowing dogs at the Park where I walk daily. They post a sign with the ordinance, but the people walk or run them there anyway. I think that is terrible that they broadcast gull distress calls on the loudspeaker – that is cruel. It would not be a place to enjoy the natural beauty and listen to the waves lapping up onto the shore. I find the screeching of the gulls by the water soothing.

          2. Looks like we’ll be getting your all-day soaker on Wednesday. I’m grateful for all the rain, though, it keeps the reservoirs full and the landscape lush and green. I suspect the goslings will get darker pretty soon. There was already a grayish cast in their yellow fluff. I wonder if we’ll keep seeing them until June.

            We keep complaining about that loudspeaker but so far our protests have fallen on deaf ears, sigh… Thoughtless people have a way of spoiling things for the rest of us. And don’t get me started on the dog problem, grrr…

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