Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hammonasset Adventure, Part 2: Seals, and More Bizarre Birds

So I was at Hammonasset Beach State Park on Wednesday, and I'd just gotten to hang out with crossbills, which was awesome. But there was still a lot of the park left to explore! I headed off to the southernmost end of the park, Meigs Point, where the shoreline is littered with huge rocks (courtesy of ancient glaciers) and the land juts out into the Long Island Sound.

Several small birds showed up along the path, including this very puffy Northern Mockingbird (with its surprisingly yellow-soled feet):

And about a dozen Horned Larks huddled among the smaller rocks (hello, funny bird faces!):

Waaay out at the end of the point, stretched out on some rocks still mostly covered by the tide, was the second creature I came to Hammonasset hoping to see: Seals!

It really just never occurred to me that there might be seals in Connecticut, but indeed, here they are! This is the same species of seal, even -- Harbor Seals -- that we got to see up close all the way on the other side of the continent, in San Diego, almost a year ago. I love how comfortable these big blubbery creatures look on their rocks. :)

Finally, there were some really weird-looking birds in these waters. Meet the Surf Scoter, a type of sea duck:

OK, what in the world is going on with your bill, Mr. Duck? The female Surf Scoters look downright normal, but wow, the males are just super bizarre! (I love you, weird bird!)

The scoters looked perhaps even weirder when they took flight, with the males showing off their fancy maroon clown feet:

And there was another type of scoter out on the water, too -- a lone male White-winged Scoter -- and this duck was just as strange-looking (and un-duck-like) as the others, but in totally different ways:

Between the seals, alien ducks, and crossbills, Hammonasset certainly was exciting! It's always great to get to explore a new place and see new things. :)

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