Monday, October 11, 2010

Changing of the Guard

Columbus Day is here, and after a well deserved break from boating and following the wildlife around the Norwalk Islands, I am back.
 Life is changing out here, it still has a long way to go, as some species seem to be hanging on a bit longer than usual, yet Autumn arrivals are about right on schedule.
To me the changing of the guard is the first mass arrival of Brant, the close cousin of the Canada Geese.
These birds nest way north of us in the arctic, and are usually only seen in these parts from Autumn until
late Spring, although a few may always be around.
Today I found many hundred Brant, including this migrating flock in the above photo, a sure sign that the seasons are changing
I was trying to get out for some fishing this afternoon, but I had to stop for this group of Ruddy Turnstones before leaving the harbor, the rock jetties off  Norwalk's Shore and Country Club are a popular hangout for shorebirds as the waters chill.
Check out how they squint their eyes to avoid the splashing water.
So while having some R& R ,what is better than good old yawn!
See the bird in the middle!
Black-bellied Plover now are in basic (non-breeding) plumage, here they are hanging out with some of the newly arrived Brant
Double-crested Cormorants are still here with numbers pushing a thousand, perhaps the birds in this shot, migrated from up north of us and are are just stopping over while moving on south.
There were still a dozen American Oystercatchers at the Cockenoe Sandspit, this may be the latest that I have seen this number of Oystercatchers hanging out. 
My intent was to do some fishing, and that I did.
The Blackfish (tautog) bite was pretty good today, these two fish in my cooler measured 22 and 21 inches each, both were over six pounds but less than seven. 
How to help get rid of invasive species?
Go down to the shoreline, turn over rocks and grab all the Asian Shore Crabs you can.
Put them on a Virginia Style Hook (blackfish hook) and hang on to your rod.
Some one recently told be that these crabs are "blackfish crack" perhaps a bad analogy, but it is very true.
Our waters are loaded with these crabs, and the taugs do eat them like candy, their bellies are stuffed with this species of crab.
I doubt I fished for an hour the afternoon, probably had twenty five of so fish, including a number of smaller fish in the mix, the action was fun.
When I was a youngster, all we fished were Fiddle Crabs for Tautog Bait, and hammered big blacks, these Asians Crabs are yesterdays Fiddlers.

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