My plans for today were to head out to the Connecticut shore, but I started the day unsure if I would be able to do so as I was unable to get the door to my gas compartment opened last night. Generally, when I lock my doors it locks that door as well and when I unlock the doors it unlocks that door. I'm assuming the lock must have gotten stuck as I couldn't get the door opened last night, then again this morning I continued to have troubles. Eventually, out of complete frustration, I simply locked and unlocked the doors several times and bam, it finally unstuck the door to the gas compartment.
I headed out a bit later than I expected, so I skipped the first location I had on my itinerary and met a friend who studies at Vassar College in Stratford, CT. We first met near an airport, then went to the Stratford Point Lighthouse Park, Milford Point, Silver Sands State Park, and finally to Long Beach in Stratford. The temps hit a high of 21 degrees and winds were calm in some areas, yet whipping at 10mph in other areas. Since we walked roughly 6 miles, we hardly felt the cold. In fact, I was sweating most of the day as I was over bundled for all that walking.
We saw all kinds of birds that were way too far out for photographs. There were two or three snowy owls (hard to tell since we were looking from different perspectives), a couple of northern harriers, lots of ducks of many species, canadian geese, brants, gulls of different species and snow buntings. The majority of these birds were at a great distance, but there were two opportunities that really stuck out with me today.
For a while I was completely amused by a ringed-billed gull who was at the edge of the shore looking for a meal. It pulled a clam out of the water and went onto the beach with it where it proceeded to drop it and pick it up, then it flew off with the clam and not long after it returned without it and was again looking for a meal. It came back out with another clam and followed the same routine I watched it do previously. By the third time it was back looking for a meal, we decided to move along. As we continued to walk back off of Long Beach I spotted two little birds on the ground and my friend informed me that they were snow buntings. They were so little and cute and it was my first time seeing this species so I was pretty darn excited. They were comical as when I was walking and approaching they sat relatively still, but every time I stopped to try and get pics, they would run in the opposite direction from me. We played this little game for a little while, then they moved into some shadows, so I gave up. It was rather fun to watch their slightly neurotic behavior.
Because I had so much fun photographing the ring-billed gull with the clams, I decided I should use one of those shots as my blog. So, here it goes, the most cooperative bird of my day!