The Canada geese we have around here seem to live here year-round. Several times a day I hear them honking overhead as they fly from the beach to the south, to the golf course to the west, and to the salt marsh and fields to the east of us. I love that sound.
Yesterday as we were taking a walk down by the beach we saw a flock of geese feeding on the grassy area but there was something different about them. They seemed smaller than Canada geese. Tim walked around behind them so they would come toward me and the camera. The one below seemed a little curious.
Then they decided to walk away from both of us in a third direction.
When Tim joined me again they decided it was safe to return to their original dining area. They went back single file!
After researching online I think it is indeed a type of small goose, called the brant. I love discovering new kinds of visitors when I go to the ‘same old’ beach!
An abundant small goose of the ocean shores, the Brant breeds in the high Arctic tundra and winters along both coasts. The Brant along the Atlantic have light gray bellies, while those off the Pacific Coast have black bellies and were at one time considered a separate species. ~ All About Birds website
Of course there were plenty of gulls feeding, too. But they’re after the seafood found in shells…
Last weekend we went to the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival. The weather was terribly hot and unbearably humid, but we pressed on… You can see how hazy it was in the pictures. I love tall ship parades. After the parade we went home to recuperate in our air conditioning. When you can’t cool off standing by the sea it is just too hot.
Later on we went over to New London to take a dinner cruise on the Mystic Whaler. I have a bit of history with this schooner. Back in the early 1980s two of my aunts signed up for a two-night cruise to Block Island. But just before they were to leave, one aunt got sick and couldn’t make it. The other aunt insisted I go with her, which I did, very reluctantly. I had three small children and didn’t want to leave them for two nights!
The cruise was a mixture of very high and very low experiences. I loved the sailing and the meals grilled outside on the deck and the captain singing and playing his guitar when we were anchored for the night. I just wished I was there with my husband! Sadly, though, my period came early and heavy and it was a struggle to use the “head” (bathroom) correctly. And in the next cabin was a teenage boy and his mother. They were up most of the night, or so it seemed, as the mother pounded his back trying to loosen the stuff in his lungs. He had cystic fibrosis and his suffering tugged at my heart.
So one day Tim surprised me with tickets for the dinner cruise. The following pictures were taken from the ship…
As it turned out this cruise had its share of negative aspects, too. It was still so hot outside that I never needed the jacket I brought, figuring it would be cool out on the water. And I wish we had been informed that most of the tickets were held by a raucous group of people celebrating a birthday. They brought their own drinks and things got lively very quickly. Someone even started choking on his food and luckily someone else was there to perform the Heimlich maneuver on him.
The picture above shows that the storm surge was still relatively high. There is a sidewalk just behind that white fence and the water never comes up to the top of the wall like it is in this picture. We were planning to make our way over there to snap even more pictures, but the police suddenly decided it was time to have all of us leave the area so the city workers could start operating their equipment to clean up the beach! If we had anticipated that happening we would have gone out there first off and worked our way back. 🙂
In this picture you can see that a portion of the white fence is missing (left of center), and a bit of the wall with some of its top missing. In the summer this stretch of sand is covered with mothers chatting under umbrellas, their children playing, blankets, towels, beach balls, shovels and buckets – I had my place among them – and senior citizens reclining, dozing or reading in deluxe beach loungers, enjoying their time in the sun…
Although we were amazed to see the damage done by Superstorm Sandy here on our little part of the Connecticut shoreline, we know that New York and New Jersey had it far worse and our hearts go out to them. It is truly heartbreaking to see the TV footage of the devastation they are enduring while we sit in the comfort of our living room.
However, I have a hard time feeling much sympathy for the people in the wealthier beachfront areas of Connecticut. Many of their homes were destroyed in Hurricane Irene just last year and they foolishly rebuilt at the same locations, and were wiped out again this time.
Recently I read an article that referred to a “way of life that was based on a mindless materialism oblivious to nature and its boundaries.”* I think this is a case in point. Mother Nature is delivering us a strong message about where we should not be building our homes. Climatologists say we can expect more of these super storms in the near future and rising sea levels in general, due to global warming.
During the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, all the summer cottages and much of the land at Bluff Point, here in Groton, were swept away by the storm surge. Nobody rebuilt there. The newly formed peninsula became a state park. It seems like the most sensible response to such a loss. When will we stop stubbornly resisting the forces of nature and start trying to live in harmony with them?
*”Power of Nature” by Gitte Larsen, Søren Steen Olsen, and Steen Svendsen, Utne Reader, Nov-Dec 2012