early bird gets the worm

7.18.22 ~ great blue heron in Beach Pond

Before it started raining on Monday we took an early walk down by the pond where we encountered a great blue heron struggling to get its breakfast under control.

gulp, finally!

Nearby a miniscule least sandpiper was also looking for its breakfast, skittering about so quickly I almost missed seeing it. Great blue herons are huge (38-54 inches) in comparison to the smallest of the sandpipers (5-6 inches).

least sandpiper

Then the harsh call of a great egret coming in for a landing got my attention!

great egret
great blue heron on the move again
great egret checking out the scene

We left the pond and headed for the beach. Hunting for its breakfast in the seaweed on the rocks was yet another great egret. It was a great morning for watching the shorebirds!

7.18.22 ~ great egret at Eastern Point
female common eider
male mallard in eclipse plumage
ring-billed gull

This friendly gull was waiting by our car to pose for a portrait before we left.

on the side of the road, heading back home
wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)

After we got home it started to rain and it rained for most of the day. A good, steady soaking rain, just what we’ve been needing for our abnormally dry conditions. Some parts of the state already have a moderate drought. We finally had to turn the air conditioner on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how the weather has affected the sunflowers, which we hope to visit this coming week. 🌻

By Friday Connecticut’s positivity rate reached 11%.

26 thoughts on “early bird gets the worm”

  1. An impressive array of birds on this walk! I appreciate your acknowledgement of the Pequot and other indigenous peoples’ care of the land. I sometimes think our society does not deserve this beautiful planet.

    1. Thank you, Anna! Lately I cringe whenever someone complains about invasive species taking over and disrupting ecosystems. I’ve come to feel that European-Americans, my ancestors, were/are an invasive species, too.

  2. So many lovely bird photos. I hate it when my breakfast tries to wiggle away. 😳
    Yay for rain! So many areas of the country seem to be needing a good soaking.

    1. Thank you, Suz! 🤣 The idea of something wriggling down my throat would spoil my appetite very quickly. It’s very sobering watching the news each night with so much drought and so many wildfires out west. Hoping for rain!

    1. Thank you, Eliza! I wondered if that might be an eel but decided to go ahead with some poetic license for the title. 😉 We’ve got the air conditioning on for six days now, just biding my time… Stay cool, my friend! 🌞

  3. I love the egret and the gull, Barbara — maybe today, I’m just drawn to the color white, ha! Glad you got your walk in before that much-needed rain. We, too, have been in drought conditions (which I hope might be remedied with the passage of a cold front). And our COVID numbers are climbing as well (though nobody seems to give a hoot about that, seeing as how I’m often the only person in a store with a mask on!!)

    1. Thank you, Debbie! I know what you mean about being drawn to the color white. Gulls are my favorite birds to photograph, part of it is their coloring but it’s also their personalities and shameless curiosity. I hope you got some rain for your drought. I worry about all of us having to share less and less water… It’s much the same here, very few are wearing masks in public places. It feels good when I start down an aisle in the grocery store and notice someone else with a mask. 🙂

  4. You had a fun walk and got lots of great pictures here Barbara. The series of shots of the heron trying to eat were so close up! Was this an eel or some type of water snake? I especially liked how it coiled around its beak – oops! I like the egret coming in for a landing as well. I’ve never seen a sandpiper. Clearly the gull knew you were taking blog photos and posed prettily. Glad you got some rain. We got some rain and storms off/on all weekend and they’re still saying we are having another storm tonight – this will be our third in two days, then a tad cooler for this week, thank goodness.

    1. Thank you, Linda! That zoom lens on my camera sure comes in handy. It doesn’t always focus well but when the light (and some other mysterious factors I haven’t figured out yet) is right the pictures come out better than I would dare to hope. 🌞 Two of my commenters think it was an eel and that was my hunch so I’m good with that. It was amazing seeing it coil around the beak, what a desperate struggle the fight for survival can be. Some sandpipers are so tiny they are easy to miss, but you can sometimes spot them quickly skittering along the shoreline. Gulls are the best. 😉 I have to restrain myself from sharing all the pictures I get of them! Happy to hear you’re getting some rain. I got to open the windows this morning after 6 days of air conditioning. The humidity is gone for today and tomorrow — yay!

      1. Yes, what a joy to be rid of that humidity. It’s been glorious walking weather the past few days, then the humidity creeps back in again tomorrow. That’s too bad. Hope the weather stays cool and dry for a while for you – you get our weather a day later. Gulls are the most cooperative birds around. I wish we had those little sandpipers. Yes, the poor eel trying to evade “going down the hatch” – a fellow blogger had a video of a heron swallowing a frog alive and you can see the frog still kicking and moving down the heron’s neck.

        1. The humidity has been coming and going, the air conditioning on and off… Grateful for the open-window days when they come! Oh that poor frog struggling in that heron’s neck! Nature is brutal but all creatures have to eat… Still, it’s the predators that keep the natural world in balance if we let them play their parts.

          1. You always get our weather the next day Barbara – it was bright and beautiful and low humidity this weekend, so I was out and about with the camera. I will have a lot of sorting out of photos once I finally sit down – at least 8 different posts worth of photos going back to Fourth of July weekend. Our nice weather becomes a bad storm tomorrow afternoon and then a heat wave – ugh. It was horrible watching that frog kicking in the heron’s neck (though it was a fellow blogger’s video in her post) and yes, all creatures have to eat, I agree, but I’d rather they do this when I wasn’t privy to it!

          2. I’m glad you had a low humidity weekend and took advantage of it for pictures! I’ve got a few sets of photos taken on nice days lined up for posts which will hopefully keep me busy this coming week, which is supposed to be another hot and humid stretch. I’m struggling to stay positive about the summer but mostly feel like I’m just biding my time until autumn gets here. We’re in a moderate drought and the pond level is very low. Getting a little rain this morning. Only a few swamp rose mallows blooming…

  5. Oh Barbara, you knew these sightings would heal my grief and open my heart to possibility of beauty all around us, if we just take time to see what is in front of us! Your selection gives me strength!!

    The Great Blue Herring’s morning breakfast progression is absolutely magnificent! I could actually feel that snake in my stomach wiggling around. I had to convince my mind that it was a spaghetti noodle so I could calm myself. What a wonderful National Geographic moment for you to experience!!! I just love that photo sequence. What a wonderful photographer you have become!

    The egret flying in for landing with its water mirror is exceptionally perfect in every way!

    Mr / Ms seagull just simple, yet elegant.

    What a wonderful morning you and Tim wondered into on your way to enjoy the peace of the beach. It was certainly your wisdom of life that lead you to this adventure: a morning to the lovely healing pond and beach. I wish you both many more. Your far away friend in-love with the sea!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed my pictures, TD! You made me think of the words of Max Ehrmann from his Desiderata poem: “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It was very exciting for me to encounter that great blue heron that morning. A few days later when I visited the pond there weren’t any birds at all. It’s definitely a hit or miss prospect, and one has to enjoy whatever moments of wonder come, as they come.

      I hope you are enjoying your summer by the sea, too!

      1. Thank you for the selected words from this poem, Barbara. So much appreciated.

        P.S. Your reader, Eilene, posted a darling tiny birdie surprise that I truly think you would enjoy.

          1. I sent a reply with the link to Eilene’s post but I think it went to your spam folder. It was my mistake. I found her through your friend Linda Schaub’s blog.

          2. Thank you for the link, TD! Comments with links always go to my spam folder but when I get around to seeing them there I do approve them. One can’t be too careful about malicious links these days, although Akismet does intercept most of them. I will go check out Eilene’s birdie surprise now. 🙂

  6. It was a serene joy to go to the pond and shore with you, Barbara. I enjoyed all the photos and your descriptions. I especially enjoyed your first sentence. The GBH with the eel was a great series, and all the wildlife photos were so lovely, my friend. Very sweet Queen Anne’s lace. A look at a common eider is very special, rare…how fortunate for you. I liked hearing about the anticipation of the rain, and then its arrival. Great to be here, Barbara, thank you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and for coming along on this special walk, Jet! I thought that might be an eel the great blue heron was catching but was inspired to use a little poetic license. 😉 I first saw a common eider two years ago and have been seeing them more and more often ever since. This one was swimming with four others and the other day I saw a group of males and females on the rocks. I wonder if their range is changing. They seem so peaceful, slowly drifting by.

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