so much to say

7.1.16.gull.foot.800
7.1.16 ~ my gull friend at Eastern Point Beach

Our son and daughter-in-law are visiting us from Georgia. Last night we went down to the beach for supper and a gull came over near to our picnic table. He was resting quietly on the grass for a while, and then he started voicing all kinds of mournful cries. We spoke to him a little bit and then, he stood up. That’s when I noticed his mangled foot and recognized him to be the gull I wrote about last September in this post: a long fine life.

So, he made it through the winter after all!

I had been a little sad I hadn’t seen him until now, fearing he hadn’t survived. But then one of Tim’s ham radio contacts mentioned a gull fitting his description was visiting a dock about a mile up the river. People were feeding him, which they shouldn’t do, but perhaps that’s why he hadn’t been down to the beach.

The gull then walked over to my side of the picnic table and sat down again. I spoke to him for a little while, unable to conceal my excitement over seeing him again. 🙂 I didn’t have my camera but he sat still while I got out my cell phone and snapped this picture.

In the past he would visit us by standing on whichever white post was closest to us. This is the first time he was sitting on the grass. And he vocalized for much longer than he has in the past. I like to think he was telling us about his winter and his plans for the summer.

Finally, he flew off and started hovering over a man with a hot dog in his hand. Still up to his old tricks… It was so good to see him.

a long fine life

9.7.15.0189
9.7.15 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Of course no evening at the beach would be complete without a visit from our old friend with the mangled leg and foot. The gull may just be greeting us in a friendly manner, but his call is so mournful and long we often wonder what tale of woe he is trying to share. The burdened gull looks in a lot better shape now than he did at the beginning of the summer.

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9.7.15 ~ Eastern Point Beach

I’ve learned not to feel too sorry for this gull. He doesn’t seem to feel sorry for himself. His large strong wings work perfectly well and we see him flying and fishing out over the rocks and the water. And every summer he’s an expert at swooping down and snatching hot dogs from unsuspecting diners at the picnic tables. I once saw him swallow a foot-long hot dog, whole, in one big gulp! Human food is not good for gulls and most people, including us, obey the rules not to feed them. At least not on purpose. 🙂

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9.7.15 ~ Eastern Point Beach

We learned that we are not this old gull’s only friends. While a group of three off-duty lifeguards were walking along, chatting and gathering up their equipment for the last time this summer, he flew over and landed on a picnic table right in front of them and squawked at them. They all said hello and spoke to him and then finally one said, as the gull flew off, “Good-bye, Claws! Please don’t die!”

So Tim & I are not the only ones who wonder at the end of each summer if this wounded gull will make it through the coming winter. Since I first met this gull in 2011, he must be at least four years old, probably more. Gulls live ten to fifteen years so it is possible he may be around for many summers to come.

9.7.15.0204
9.7.15 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.
~ Richard Bach
(Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

9.7.15.0208
9.7.15 ~ Eastern Point Beach

photos by Tim Rodgers

storm on the way

8.12.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
swamp rose mallow ~ 8.12.14 ~ Beach Pond

misty sunlit noon
swamp mallows basking in pink
a storm on the way
~ Barbara Rodgers
(By the Sea)

8.12.14.1447
8.12.14 ~ Eastern Point Beach

I first met this battered old gull three years ago in August of 2011, when we were expecting Hurricane Irene. Today he sat on this post right next to us, closer than he’s ever come before, and we heard his long and mournful cry again. He looks a lot worse for wear, his life has no doubt been difficult with that badly mangled foot. Now it looks like he has a barnacle or a growth on his beak. I think he was letting us know about the approaching rain storm. No hurricane this time, though.

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8.12.14 ~ Eastern Point Beach

in the offing

In all the excitement yesterday I forgot I had a prescription to pick up at the drug store. So… we decided to go get it this morning, even though it was already raining, but with no wind to speak of. Workers were boarding up the large expanse of windows at CVS. I wonder if they will stay open for 24 hours through the storm.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Since we were already out and about we decided to have second breakfast (as Hobbits refer to it) at our favorite restaurant. And then we decided to go to the food co-op for Tim’s sliced almonds. And then we decided we may as well check out the beach before returning home.

On the way we spotted some die-hard golfers, out for one last round! That’s the Thames River behind them, shrouded in mist.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I’m guessing these cormorants were getting a feel for the wind direction. They didn’t fly, they were just standing there with their wings open…

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

This little house is on a rock island in the Thames River and is the object of much curiosity and speculation. We have never seen people there before, but today these two kayaked out there! When I got home and uploaded my pictures to my laptop, I noticed that there seems to be a wind turbine just behind the bushes! I called Tim over and he had never noticed one there before either. It’s strange that I didn’t even see it while taking the picture.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

We drove right up to this seagull. He was unimpressed with us and wasn’t about to leave his post.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

This gull had a long and mournful cry…

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

As I moved closer to him I could see something wrong with his foot, perhaps it was injured and healed in an awkward position. He seemed to know I meant him no harm and allowed me to come very close to him and talk to him.

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

Later he was waiting patiently, hoping to get a crumb from a woman enjoying one last hot dog before the storm arrives.

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

On the way home we stopped at Baker Cove and found this tranquil scene…

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
Baker Cove ~ 8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

There have been a few evacuations near us, but so far we’re good to stay. The storm track is a little more to the west, so we’re out of the “red” zone. Now we’re more concerned about Larisa in New York than about us here. There is a high new moon tide coming along with a 6′ storm surge. (We’re 20′ high.  If I see water, though, I’m out of here!) Tim has his webcam aimed out the window – wonder what we’ll see?