As Phil and I were taking a walk down Coast Guard Beach a couple of weeks ago when the temps were in the lower 70s, we saw something lying on the sand. Hmmm….
As we got closer I could see that it was a Common Eider just relaxing in the sun and not bothered by anyone. We clicked away. After a little while, he got up and sauntered back down to the water.
A Common Eider has a white back and black undersides with a black crown. They have a very distinctive bill, as you can see. I’d only seen them a couple of times last year in the water, so this was a big treat!
Beautiful bird, don’t you think?
There were so many birds flying over the water and then diving in off of Nauset Spit the other day. The fish must have been very plentiful right there. It looks like there were many different species of birds enjoying their feast!
This photograph only captures a small percentage of the birds diving and feeding there. Have you ever seen anything like this?
The sandbar off of Coast Guard Beach, part of the National Seashore in Eastham, was filled with Arctic Terns. They would stand there for a bit and then all fly off and then all fly back again. I’d never seen so many congregate in one space like that. It was pretty cool. Maybe they were migrating from the Arctic on their way to points further south.
Arctic Terns are grey and white with a black head and a red bill and short red legs and feet. They are very distinct looking.
The trail along the Salt Pond by the National Seashore Visitor’s Center in Eastham was so pretty this fall day. You never know what you might see. The sun was shining brightly on Nauset Marsh. We even saw a few Cabbage White butterflies still flying about.
As I was walking along Coast Guard Beach the other day, I saw something black swimming on the water, diving in amongst the waves. I thought maybe it was a Black Duck. I got my camera out and clicked away and only got a couple of photos as this bird was floating through the tall waves and diving into the ocean and very hard to see.
When I got home and looked on my computer, I noticed the white “comma” under his eye and knew it was not a Black Duck. To my surprise, it was a White-Winged Scoter which I had never seen before. What a treat!
The White-Winged Scoter is a medium sized duck that is mostly black except for a white eye patch shaped like a comma. It has an orange bill with a black knob and red-orange legs and feet. It dives up to 40 down and feeds primarily on shellfish.
Have you ever seen a White-Winged Scoter?
There is nothing like the sounds of waves on the beach, especially at Coast Guard Beach, part of the National Seashore on Cape Cod. It is one of my favorite beaches on the Cape. This time of the year, you might be the only one walking on the beach. Listening to the waves is both cathartic and medicinal, interspersed with the sound of gulls and other birds.
This day was a beautiful day with sunny skies and beautiful waves… perfect for that walk on the beach.