On Veterans Day, my friend Sharon and I headed to Mount Desert Island to see what wildlife we could find. The weather was unusually warm, and the sun shone bright in a cloudless sky. We knew we were likely enjoying one of the last warm days of the season.
Stopping at pools, marshes and beaches, we searched the water and land for birds and other random wildlife. Once, Sharon watched three deer play on the beach near Seawall, on the southwestern side of the island. You never know what you’ll find.
This time, we didn’t stumble upon anything especially rare or elusive or surprising, but we had fun watching two Canada geese interact with a mess of seagulls in a pond in Somesville. To bathe, the geese would thrash their wings and sometimes even do somersaults in the water, completely submerging, then bobbing back to the surface to shake their bodies vigorously, spraying water everywhere.
In a nearby cove, we spotted three buffleheads, ducks that appear black and white from a distance, but actually have beautiful florescent feathers that shine purple, blue and green in the sunlight. The ducks seems to be rather shy, from the times Sharon and I have seen them. They detect us from quite a distance, then swim in the opposite direction. Because of their aversion to people, I’ve never gotten a decent photo of them, but I’ll include a far away photo here, just so you get an idea of what they look like. (They’re just one more reason for me to get a higher zoom lens…)
Also near the shore, we spotted a number of common loons. In the summer, the common loon has a distinctive pattern — a white throat, black back with white spots, and a dark green ring around its neck. But in the winter, its plumage completely changes, becoming more drab. The back turns plain grey and the ring around its neck disappears.
During our Nov. 11 outing, we were seeing that transition. In the photo, you’ll notice that the loon does not have a ring around its neck, but on its back, there are still some white spots!
Aside from that, we saw a lot of sea gulls, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise. We have an abundance of gulls here in Maine, and I haven’t even started to learn the different types. That’ll be a lesson for another day.