splish splash, catbird taking a bath…

7.17.21 ~ Wilcox Park, Westerly, Rhode Island
gray catbird cooling off in birdbath
what are you looking at?
gray catbird drying off in a tree
pictures taken on our hot and humid walk through the park
after visiting the outdoor Virtu Art Festival

sandpiper, my gull friend

7.16.21 ~ Eastern Point

Ugh. Unrelenting tropical humidity… Last night we sat down on our bench at the beach and sweltered… I was hoping to see my gull friend because we hadn’t seen him since the end of June. I miss him sitting on the post in front of us… But it looked like we weren’t going to see any shorebirds so we watched the sailboats going by instead. They were coming in because a thunderstorm was rumbling in the distance.

When we couldn’t take the heat any longer we walked over to a bench in the shade on the other side of Tyler House, and looked out over the rocks and breakwaters. I spotted a tiny little bird way out and strained to make it out. It finally came a little closer.

spotted sandpiper

And, lucky for me, the robin-sized shorebird came even closer! The spotted sandpiper is a new one for me. 🙂

spotted sandpiper

After taking way too many pictures of the sandpiper, most of them blurry and deleted already, I sat down and felt grateful for the sea breeze finally starting to come in from the sound. And then The Captain flew by in front of us! He flew back to the other side of Tyler House and we followed, and sat down on our usual bench. But he wouldn’t come down to his fence post. He stayed up there on that ugly lamp post. There were no children running around this day so I wonder why he won’t come down.

We waited for a good while but he wouldn’t budge. So we started for the car. Looking back at him it looked like he was doing some stretching. Amazing his sense of balance up there!

Good night, dear summer friend! I hope to see you again soon.

gull, oystercatcher, willet

7.14.21 ~ Eastern Point, juvenile herring gull

So, last night we went down to the beach for a few minutes before getting back home for our scheduled video call with our son and daughter-in-law. The humid air was oppressive and Tim wouldn’t have lasted down there much longer anyway.

juvenile herring gull portrait

I was content to capture a few gull portraits, but then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted an oystercatcher way out on the breakwater. Zoomed out. I don’t think this one is related to the family group we’ve been seeing because it is banded.

banded American oystercatcher

While I was trying to get a clear picture of the oystercatcher I detected some movement near it and finally spotted a bird I’ve never seen at our beach before, a willet! (I think I may have seen them on Cape Cod, but never this close.) When it flew from the breakwater over to the rocks in front of us we could see a bold white and black stripe running the length of each wing. But once it landed on the rocks it walked all over them and didn’t fly again before we had to leave. We were mesmerized.

willet

And after that brief but exciting visit to the beach we got back home to the air conditioning and had a wonderful long video chat with the kiddos. 💙

seventy years ago

Wedding of Ruth Jane Flanzer & Karl Freeman Rodgers, Jr.
14 July 1951, Cranford, New Jersey

Tim’s parents and grandparents (l-r): Joseph Asher Flanzer (1901-1997), Lenore Naomi Raven (1907-1961), Ruth Jane Flanzer (1931-1992), Karl Freeman Rodgers, Jr. (1930-1978), Allegra Estelle Hamilton (1900-1992), and Karl Freeman Rodgers, Sr. (1895-1971). Karl & Ruth were the parents of two sons. They divorced on 10 January 1958, after six years of marriage.

after the storm

7.9.21 ~ Eastern Point, mouth of Thames River

Tropical Storm Elsa cleared up in time for us to have our supper down at the beach. Didn’t see any storm damage, although other parts of Connecticut got some flash flooding. We had 4 inches of rain. The winds weren’t too bad but it was still pretty breezy down by the water. The wildflowers on the rocks looked freshly showered.

We had two gulls to keep us company. They waited politely and posed for pictures but never got a bit of food from us.

ring-billed gull
herring gull
herring gull feet

After we ate we took a walk over to look at the island where we saw the great blue heron the other day but he wasn’t there. Instead, we saw a Canada goose hanging out with the American oystercatchers. If only I could get closer!

And as we passed by the song sparrow’s thicket we saw one of them. When he faced the sun and the wind he looked fine, and when he turned and faced away from the wind his feathers ruffled.

It was good to get out of the house. Still trying to wrap our minds around the latest COVID-19 news, that 4 million people have died of it worldwide. (Probably many more than that.) Even though things seem almost back to normal around here, the fact is that most of the world is still in a very precarious situation.

We worked on a jigsaw puzzle during the storm… Now it’s back to the heat and humidity and thunderstorms…

George Lincoln Rodgers & Mary Jane Rodgers

Tim’s great-grandfather, George Lincoln Rodgers, son of Elijah and Zipporah Ann (Horton) Rodgers, was born 1 January 1865 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) on 18 February 1891 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts, his first cousin, Mary Jane “Jenny” Rodgers, who was born 7 June 1867 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts and died in 1917, daughter of Neadom and Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers.

Mary Jane Rodgers
(1867-1917)

George was a fisherman and Mary Jane was a homemaker. According to the 1910 census, he arrived in America in 1883, when he was 18 years old. His uncle Neadom had come in 1858 and his parents followed him in 1891.

Three years before their marriage, George & Mary Jane lived through The Great Blizzard of 1888 that killed more than 400 people along the eastern seaboard.

George & Mary Jane were married by Ezra J. Riggins, Clergyman. They resided at 4 West Vine St. in Provincetown. They were first cousins; their fathers were brothers.

George Lincoln Rodgers became an American citizen on 1 April 1897.

District Court of the United States, Boston, Massachusetts

Sometime after Mary Jane’s death in 1917, George married (as his second wife and as her second husband) Mary Etta (Cushing) Simmons, who was born about 1867, and died 21 January 1938, daughter of John Walter and Deborah (Sampson) Cushing, and widow of Mark L. Simmons. In 1920 George and his second wife, Mary Etta, were residents of Somerville. George died soon after Mary Etta, of colon cancer. George lies buried with his second wife and her first husband in Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, Massachusetts. Mary Jane lies buried with her parents, brother and sister-in-law in Gifford Cemetery, in Provincetown.

George & Mary Jane were the parents of a son:

i. Karl Freeman Rodgers (Tim’s grandfather), born 22 October 1895 in Provincetown, died 27 March 1971 in Boston. He married (as her first husband) 18 September 1928 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, Allegra Estelle Hamilton, who was born 17 August 1900 in Newark (Wayne) New York, died 16 January 1992 in Keene (Cheshire) New Hampshire, daughter of Charles Amos and Gertrude Mabel (Hubbard) Hamilton. Karl & Allegra were the parents of two children.

Gifford Cemetery
Provincetown, Massachusetts

Mary Jane (Rodgers) Rodgers lies buried with her parents, Neadom & Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers, and her brother and sister-in-law, Elijah & Clara (Bangs) Rodgers.

Mayflower Cemetery
Duxbury, Massachusetts

George Lincoln Rodgers lies buried with his second wife, Mary Etta (Cushing) (Simmons) Rodgers, and her first husband, Mark L. Simmons.

threatening weather

7.7.21 ~ Eastern Point
herring gull, second winter?

This morning we have woken up under a tropical storm warning. What’s left of Hurricane Elsa looks like it will come bother us after all. It’s been a wild week. Hot and humid with violent thunderstorms in the evenings. Last night we snuck down to the beach before one arrived, listening to the rumbles in the distance.

We didn’t see The Captain but I had fun taking pictures of plants and an assortment of gulls passing the time on the rocks and fence posts. Much as I love my gulls I do have a terrible time trying to figure out what year they are!

herring gull, breeding adult
ring-billed gull cooling off with a drink
rabbit-foot clover

After walking around the property I spotted a great blue heron out on the island where the cormorants usually position themselves. Never seen one at our beach before! He was pretty far away but I did the best I could.

great blue heron
great blue heron
great blue heron

I heard a song sparrow and then Tim spotted it way up at the top of a tree. (I usually see them in the thicket…)

song sparrow

I think another invasive species has arrived in our area. the European water chestnut is a freshwater aquatic plant released inadvertently into waters of the Northeast in the late 1800s. As of 2014 it hadn’t been seen in Connecticut but it is here now and has overtaken Avery Pond. It completely covers the water. Sigh… It’s very sad to see. Beach Pond, which I think is a salt pond, has not been affected.

dead water chestnut leaf?

Time to batten down the hatches!

my gull friend and oystercatchers

6.29.21 ~ The Captain is back!!! ~ Eastern Point

The weather has been brutal here, heat advisories, oppressive humidity, air quality alerts… What a relief that pandemic restrictions at the beach have been lifted, for the most part, so we can get out of the house for supper there, a tradition we had to skip last summer. And joy of all joys, on our first evening out, my gull friend with the mangled leg showed up!!!

He did a couple of flybys but didn’t land on the post in front of our bench. Perhaps he doesn’t remember us. It’s been a couple of years. But, more likely, it was because of a human family picnicking on the lawn. They were encouraging their children to toss food to the gulls (against the beach rules) and to then chase them, shouting and screaming at them, when they tried to get the food. If my friend had landed on his usual post he would have been pursued. I hope that family won’t be there the next time we go.

The Captain surveyed the situation from the top of a tall lamp post and I did manage to get a couple of pictures of him. I’m a little concerned because he was keeping his mouth open, a behavior I’ve not seen before. Tim thinks perhaps he was cooling off from the heat. I did some research and that does seem to be the case. Poor overheated gull.

For my newer readers who may be wondering who The Captain is… Back on August 27, 2011, almost ten years ago, I met him at our beach while we were waiting for Hurricane Irene to arrive. We’ve been friends ever since. When Tim & I have supper at the beach in the summer he will often come perch on the pole in front of our bench and keep us company while we’re eating. We never feed him so I like to think he has no agenda besides friendship. If you click on “The Captain” tag at the end of this post you will see all the posts tracing our history.

As I turned to leave my friend I heard the unmistakable calls of American oystercatchers. There was a family of five on the rocks, plucking hermit crabs out of the water, the parents teaching their young ones how to feed themselves. It was only a few weeks ago when we saw the parents flying around the rocks and so it looks like they did settle here this year, like they did seven years ago. Needless to say, I was walking on air!

The youngsters have the dark-tipped bills.
The adult bills are bright orange-red.

This juvenile was paying close attention to its parent’s demonstration.

American Oystercatchers probe sandy and stony areas for clams, oysters, and other mollusks, which they open by cutting or smashing. Much of their day is spent resting in roosts during high tide. They are vigorous, and very loud, during courtship displays, territorial conflicts, and interactions with intruders.
~ All About Birds website

The first hint to their presence is often their whistling call, which can be heard from a mile away.
~ All About Birds website

life underfoot

6.25.21 ~ very murky early morning ~ Eastern Point
lichen and moss
rabbit-foot clover
???

The wildflowers above were growing on the rocks at the beach. The garden flowers below were planted around the flag pole in front of Tyler House. Muggy days…

Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.
~ Barbara Kingsolver
(Prodigal Summer)