Sunday, August 20, 2006

Going Coastal!

I heard this term in an advertisement about a month ago and it really resonated with me. Every time we go to the coast, within a few days of returning, Marc is saying, "You need to take a vacation -- let's go to Rockport!" I've decided he's just "going coastal" on me!

I don't enjoy the trips to the coast so much in the Summer -- it is way too hot! However, as you can see from the clouds posted yesterday, we had a bit of rain. That cooled things down a bit the first day we were there, an unfortunately, hastened our departure on the last day. But in between, we were able to feed the seagulls (Marc's favorite activity) and catch a few of the year-round natives of the area.

This trio of Laughing gulls shows the great variation in these birds at this time of year. During the breeding season, the gulls have black heads -- but after the breeding season, they only have a few dark streaks. Officially the breeding season lasts until September -- but there will always be variances, and after all, it's mid-August.

We also saw a lot of juveniles, no big surprise there! They are brownish -- like many juvenile birds, but they have a black band across their tail-feathers. It's a bit easier to see when they are flying, as the black wingtips cover it when they are on the ground.

I think these juvenile gulls are really handsome birds. They are a bit more colorful (or at least patterned) than their parents. I'm told that the Latin forms for most Gulls are some form of "Laughing", so to some extent they are ALL Laughing Gulls, but my Latin Dictionary doesn't agree.

The bird below was an interesting find:

At first I thought this was an Anhinga, and was really excited, but when I got around to the other side of the bird, it didn't have the white streaks on the backs of the wings. I looked it up, and it's probably just a juvenile Cormorant.

We went over to a little park behind the Airport and saw this Blue Heron who seemed to want to pose for us!

This great egret was not quite as sociable, and wondered away down the sandbar.

But the greatest surprise was the belted Kingfisher that flew by us. Marc pointed it out, but it quickly went behind some brush.

But only a moment later it flew back across the beach where we were standing and landed in a nearby tree -- just enough for me to get a good shot. This one appears to be a female. The males have a bright red belly under the dark blue "belt".

Back at the beach -- all sorts of birds like to hang out on the pier!


Neocon said...


During the breeding season, the gulls have black heads -- but after the breeding season, they only have a few dark streaks.

Kinda reminds me of men who start off their relationships with black hair and end up with grey! ;)

Neocon said...

Marc "going coastal" - how funny is that! Great shots by the way Stormy. Don't change your name - Stormy fits you! ;)

Stormy said...

Hi Neo!

That's why I married a blonde! ;-)