Paul ran in a race this morning at Short Beach Park in the town of Stratford, and I got to tag along. The day was cold and windy and cloudy, but I was happy to toodle around on the beach while other people engaged in strenuous physical activity. :P
We have two species of loons that hang out in the ocean around here during the winter: the Common Loon and the Red-throated Loon. Both birds have that sleek loon shape, and at this time of year they wear similar patterns of gray and white (greatly muted from their striking breeding plumage). I'm much more familiar with Common Loons, especially in their fancy black-and-white summer costumes, but this morning I was happy to get to see a Red-throated Loon for the first time, distinguishable (as I learned today) by its speckled back, its relatively thin bill (compared to the Common Loon), and its habit of holding its bill up at a slight angle. I'm amazed at the elegence of this bird, even (or perhaps especially) in its simple gray and white:
On such a cold and windy day, not many other creatures (besides running people, of course) were particularly active. A saw a ton of Blue Mussel shells in the sand, swept up into a colorful band by the tide:
And several Ring-billed Gulls kept me company on the wind-blown beach, huddled against the cold. I especially like this grumpy-looking fellow:
The days are getting steadily colder, but the beach has has creatures to see no matter the season. And now that it feels like winter, all we need is some real snow!