Saturday, January 14, 2012

Brant Oddity

While passing through Norwalk's Calf Pasture Beach late this afternoon, I came upon this odd looking Brant that was hugging close to the shoreline in today's forty plus mile an hour winds.
This guy was all alone, staying in tight within the lee of the mainland.
I noted the odd bump on it's forehead and started taking photograph's.
In the above photo, it appears as though the left eye has been pushed downward from this tumor like hump.
Right side eye seems normal
Another view of the left  side eye abnormality.
This bird seemed otherwise very healthy as seen here feeding alone the shoreline
Plus just to be a showoff it hauled out and posed for the camera.

The other bird of the day were these beauties.
Often, people think of these Ring-billed Gulls as merely seagulls....
In gale force winds, it would be difficult to come upon a more graceful dancer! 
Lastly, a local Oyster Boat calling it a day.
with Peck's ledge Lighthouse in the distance.
Would you believe that with today's gales, two hunters went out the islands and had to be rescued by the Norwalk Police Marine Unit!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Norwalk Island Razorbills

Nice boating weather is hard to come by this time of year.
I have a few winter boating guidelines that I try my best to stick to.
First 40 degrees is a great start, second little or no wind, third, the sun is shinning.
Today fit all three, I made a call to my friend Chris and suggested today's the day, since we have been trying, but not able to get out on the boat for a few weeks.
My reasoning for these guidelines are these: water freezes, when it's spray hits the deck in windy and freezing temps, an ice skating rink on the deck, is not cool.
The ray's of the sun always helps out to keep you warm, as opposed to a cloudy day.
With over thirty years of winter boating, regardless if it was for fishing, birding, seals, photography or whatever, we are on a twenty one foot boat, it has a small cabin but no heat.
 There is no warm car to run back to when frostbite and hypothermia start to set in.
 Today was somewhat pleasant and we headed out into the sound.

Just south of Goose Island we saw out first Razorbill.
While searching for White-winged Scoter several miles south of Cockenoe Island, we came upon several more Razorbill's feeding over sixty five feet of water
This bird allowed us to come fairly close.
As many diving birds do, this Razorbill dips it's head underwater in search of prey, we are in 65' of water in LIS, I'm not sure how far it can see? 10'?
Perhaps it's not about seeing?
Back inshore we spotted this Gannet flying from the shoreline area, to the deeper waters of the sound.
In the background is the western edge of Sherwood Island State Park 
Over a period of several minutes, we saw five adult Northern Gannets fly south from this very inshore area.
It looked as though they were flying out from the Mill Pond area.
I called a friend that birds this area almost daily to get her observations.
Tina, said that in the very calm waters off of Westport this morning, she saw fish breaking the waters surface.
Great Info! I have been doing well catching Atlantic Herring in Norwalk Harbor and other fishermen are catching these herring in almost every other harbor along the Fairfield County coastline.
Bottom Line... these birds don't travel far from the refrigerator.
Common Loon, inshore of Cockenoe Island, feeding on the flats, 3-4 ft of water.