Private Dock at Mere Point Boat Launch 10-12-2014
Autumn is an ever changing season and I have had fun watching it happen at the Mere Point Boat Launch. Not only do the seasons change, but so do the birds as I continue to document the species I am seeing here. One of the things I love about New England are the ever changing skies and the ever changing weather. Now is the time of year where I must take advantage of every nice day, for one never knows when the cold wind and rain will be upon them for days on end!
Clear, azure skies hung over long, denim shadows with pops of red against the evergreens. In spite of the Autumn chill, I counted 23 species here this afternoon.
But this morning was a different story as I crossed the street to the boat ramp. Clouds billowed up in piles of steel wool. There was much human activity as I walked down the road to the parking lot. People were busy pulling boats out of the water before the coming storm. With all the noise and activity, the birds were mostly in hiding. With crows flying darkly overhead, a few little Ruby-crowned Kinglets flitted in the nearby trees. I was surprised to see a flock of robins take wing and fly overhead as they are becoming more scarce and I rarely see them on my lawn anymore.
I walked my regular route, trying to avoid the people and boats, but finally gave up and headed back towards home. I crossed the footbridge and was surprised to see a lone rose in bloom, the last of the season I am sure!
But, as I neared the top of the parking lot, it seemed as if everyone left at once. Suddenly I was alone with the pregnant air heavy with the threat of rain on the horizon. With all the people, trucks and boats gone, the birds relaxed and emerged from their hiding places. I changed my course and headed back to the dock where the tide was just starting to slip out again, revealing the tops of the formerly submerged rocks.
I zipped my coat up tight around me and walked to the end of the dock where some Common Eiders paddled nearby in the water. Farther out a flock of seagulls wheeled and settled down on some rocks or in the tossing sea. A few cormorants dove and surfaced with their long, snake-like necks emerging like spears from the cold depths. Soon they will be gone and the winter ducks will return to this bay, but for now we are in the overlap, the in-between time, the fading days of this year. As I stood at the end of the dock a pair of Black Ducks flew by with fast beating wings and landed in the cove. I stood at the end of the dock looking back and wondering if this would be my last time out here. I know one of these days I will walk over and the dock with be pulled in and stacked in the parking lot. That’s when I will know we are settling in for the winter for sure. Right now we are in for three days of rain and I will be stuck at home trying to get caught up on all the things I have neglected while I have been out birding and making trips to Connecticut and back! As i crossed the street and walked across my sparrow-covered lawn a few rain drops fell, and I tucked my binoculars inside my coat to protect them form the rain. I had barely closed the door to my house when the skies opened up and rain came down in buckets! It soon subsided, but then came back with a vengeance and it has been raining off and on for the rest of the day. On a bright note, I had my 102nd bird species in the yard this morning when I found a Swamp Sparrow mixed in with all the White-throated Sparrows that have inundated my yard in the past week!