Saturday, July 21, 2007

Herring Gull on Float

Herring Gull on Float
Originally uploaded by Captain_Peleg
It took me a long time to figure out what's wrong with this gull. It's got a fish hook, some fishing line, and a sinker stuck on/in its bill. When it flew off I could see the line and the sinker hanging down from it. The poor gull was miserable. It kept trying to flip the line and sinker up into its mouth and swallow it. I didn't see it again after it flew away. I hope it gets the hook out somehow.

There's not much bird action or visitor action this morning. The usual gull suspects, a small flock of sanderlings, a lone piping plover, and some tree swallows are just about it. The piping plover was hanging around with a pair of sanderlings for some time, feeding along the water line. Then one of the sanderlings got too close and the plover attacked it. The piping plover charged it like a bulldog with much fluttering of wings and pecking. They are very aggressive and bossy when not using their cloak of invisibility as their primary defense mechanism. The two sanderlings flew down the beach to join a flock of about half a dozen of their own kind. The piping plover kept on feeding alone for an hour or more until it flew off somewhere.

A couple of ring-billed gulls were feeding along the water line as well, probing like sanderlings. Ring-billed gulls have a very flexible feeding strategy -- catch flies, catch fish, dig huge marine worms out of their holes in the sand, you name it. Actually one of the gulls did pull a big worm out of a hole in the sand right in front of me. The other gull got a much smaller worm from a nearby hole. More impressive gull behavior.

A vintage biplane flew over a couple of times. Its engine sounded loud and deeply retro mechanical. Lots of other small planes, some old, some new, also flew over but the only engine nearly as loud as the biplane was the tour boat out of Newburyport harbor. The boat went back and forth several times as well as anchoring for awhile. Definitely not whale watching as they were far too close to shore. It looked like some people had fishing rods. Must've been a fishing trip. Anyway, it was louder than all the planes and stayed around longer.

It's not every day I get to see a piping plover AND a vintage biplane as I'm drinking my morning coffee. Plover wardening has its rewards.

Coffee of the day: Ethiopian Harrar. Oh, and I forgot to post last Saturday's coffee of the day. It was Brazilian Cerado for those keeping track.

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