Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mallards and Geese and Gulls, Oh my!

I had an afternoon to myself today, so I decided to drive up the coast to see what water fowl I could find. It had snowed much of the night and was still precipitating off and on. But it was relatively warm (39 degrees) and calm, just enough weather to make it interesting, but not dangerous to drive in.

I first went to the nearby body of water, Lake Quannap- owitt in Wakefield, just a few miles from my house, and down the hill from my sister's, where I was for lunch today. I thought I might find some geese or something, but the only living thing I found there was a group of sea gulls resting on the ice.

From there, I drove north to Manches- ter-by- the-Sea (don't you love that name?!) and drove along the ocean, watching for signs of life. A pretty cove caught my eye, so I stopped to look at the waves when all of a sudden a dozen or more mallards swarmed me overhead and landed along the water's edge. They immediately started feeding, scrambling along the rocky beach, coming right up to me at one point.

Suddenly, some Canadian geese flew overhead, calling out, and the whole mallard flock flew up to join the geese. They flew round and round the area for a few minutes, then the geese flew off and the mallards came back to where they'd been feeing before. It was very interesting and beautiful to watch. I wish I'd had a camera with video to capture them.

Continuing on my journey north, I found myself in Magnolia (another beautiful name for a town!), again driving along the shore. This time, I found gulls at a family favorite picnic spot. Often on Saturday afternoons when we were growing up, our family would pile in the car or van and drive up to this spot, park, and enjoy a picnic lunch and afternoon of reading or playing games. I didn't eat or play games here, but I did drink in the rugged beauty of water crashing on shoreline rocks.

Next, I made my way to Gloucester, the famous fishing and lobstering town. I stopped to take a picture of the major landmark of the town, the Gloucester Fisherman with the lines Psalms 107 on it: "They that go do to the sea in ships." I'll do another post on that, but for the purposes of this entry want to stick to the birds I saw.

Dozens and dozens of sea gulls of all sizes, shapes, and colors; in the water, on pilings in the water, and on the fence along the water's edge. They let me come quite close to them, which was cool.

I walked until I got too cold, especially my camera hand. I couldn't help wondering how these gulls could sit for hours on the metal piping or floating in the frigid water without finding it unbearable! Something tells me their bodies react to cold much differently than mine does!


mon@rch said...

LOL, it is always wonderful when we are able to get out and look for birds! Even if they are Mallards, Geese and Gulls! Gulls, ugg they can be rough!

Rondi said...

FYI...I looked up the kinds of gulls I saw and there were three: Herring gull, Greater Black-backed gull, and Ring-billed gull.

sunny said...

What a fun adventure. I just love exploring.