Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gull Kettles

Last month,while fishing for Atlantic Herring off my boat club dock, I watched hundreds of gulls passing south out of  Norwalk Harbor as the sun began to set.
Where are they going? I thought to myself.
A week later, I am back on the docks, replenishing my herring food stock, again the same thing, one by one, then in groups of two, three and four or more, the gulls pass me, heading south out the harbor while the sun is setting on the horizon, again where are they going? 
Atlantic Herring, the whole fish on the left will be smoked, the fillet's to the right will be pickled.

Back to the gulls, marina docks and shorelines are often a daytime loafing place for gulls during the winter, as pictured here at the marina which my boat is docked.
Before or near sunset, these birds take flight and disappear to the south.
For a few days, I  have been following these gulls, as they fly out the harbor before sunset.

These daytime roosting gulls will not stay here long after the sun has set.

Nor these gulls at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk

Leaving the shoreline gulls, I briefly checked out these Great Black-backed Gulls on Long Beach, Norwalk.
These birds arrived within the last week or so and appear to be setting up shop for the upcoming nesting season.
There were thirty Black-backs on this tiny sand spit.

Following the Herring gulls over to Goose Island, I accidentally flushed these Black Duck.
At Goose Is. many gulls were moving here for their evening roost.
A few Black-backs thinking about future nesting areas on Goose Island?
There were eighty plus Great Black-backs here.
Their numbers have grown in the past week.
This small island is a local hot spot for their nesting activities.
To the west, the sun is setting behind the Norwalk Power Plant.
Manressa Island to many, Keyser Island if you've been around Norwalk for a very long time.

Magically, hundreds of  Ring-bills in these beautiful kettles start moving off the Norwalk shoreline, floating eastward towards Cockenoe Island
One incredible sight! A Ring-bill Kettle at Sunset!
It is mayhem as this flock needs room to settle at Cockenoe Island.
Coming to Roost.
Safety is in numbers, and for these birds finding a secure place all to themselves for the evening.
The Norwalk Islands provide this needed winter habitat.
Sorry, but with a long lens I cannot capture the thousand or so gulls that have moved out her for the evening.
These are mostly Ring-bills, the Herring Gulls seem to prefer Goose Island, but there are still many of them here,along with a handful of Great Black-backs.
I also have to imagine there may be other gull species out here, but in shortness of daylight, I haven't been able to check that out.
Calf Pasture Beach in the background, Calf Island in the foreground.

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