Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bonnet Shores, RI

Not a whole lot going on in terms of birding lately, at least not for me. Vacationed with the family for a week in Bonnet Shores, RI. Got some nice looks at several osprey and kayaked around Chafee NWR, which was just down the road. Explored Beavertail State Park, too. Really not too eventful, I must say. The entire time I was at Beavertail I kept thinking, "Okay, so Rhode Island in August is not the best birding ever, note to self....." Maybe it was just a bad luck day, after all, I was out in the afternoon instead of dawn and early morning.

A week at the beach meant lots of gulls- ring-billed, laughing, great black-backed, and herring- as well as sun burns. Some kids wandered the shores all day searching for any and all interesting sea life, like kids (and I) like to do. They found a couple of clams, and when it was time to go home, they tossed them to the gulls. I enjoyed watching the process of getting past the tough exterior to the clam itself.
Nom nom nom

The only other notable bit of bird watching came when a ring-billed gull was foraging through the belongings of a couple of women who were taking a dip. Their blanket wasn't too far from us, so I had a good view of the gull as it sauntered up. I debated getting up to scare it off, but then just started thinking about the fact that it's just another species adapting to the human take-over of the planet. As I was musing over this, the bird discovered the bag of Fritos. It used its beak to make one quick jab through the bag, breaking it open. It seemed to me as if the gull was quite familiar with the packaging and had learned how best to get past the protective exterior. Plastic, clam shell, there's a technique to get past each of these food-source barriers. I couldn't help but laugh as the gull swallowed a few fritos whole, as if they were minnows or some other small fish . Then, just as I began to get up to shoo away the gull, it grabbed an entire zip-lock of Cheez-its and flew off with it. I must admit I found this all very amusing, although I'm not so sure that Fritos and Cheez-its provide a gull with the best nutrition. For all I know, it's very harmful. I was mostly giggling at the silly women in the water who had left their snacks so unprotected.

I got up and moved a couple of their towels over the bag holding the remainder of their food, hoping to deter future foragers. When they returned we updated them, and they decided to feed the remaining Fritos in the bag to the gulls. They were poured out onto the sand, and I'm sure you can imagine the result. *facepalm* Once the Fritos were gone, the women expected the gulls to leave them alone. Sigh, and another facepalm.

So, all in all, not the most exciting week of birding. But hey, without uneventful birding, the eventful stuff wouldn't be so thrilling.

Can't wait for Fall's birding extravaganza. :)

Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.


  1. I REALLY enjoyed your post!
    I like to eat oysters occasionally but when I look at that picture of yours with the Black-backed I am tempted to question my aesthetic approach to food. Nom nom nom? Hmmm, not really, if I am honest...
    I have often seen gulls grab a clam from the beach and fly to a road nearby in order to drop them onto the pavement and crack them open. If there was no road, alternative hard surfaces were used, in particular car roofs.

    A whole bag of Cheez-its? I am sure that Gull ended up being very thirsty.

  2. This made me smile Amanda. Gulls are certainly opportunists but 'take away' in the pack. thats a new one. FAB

  3. hee hee..good story..never leave food unprotected at the beach...and then never feed if you want to be left alone.
    I am glad you saw some birds..but I know its getting better day by day there now as the birds are starting their journey south.
    Take care..
    hope to see you next year

  4. Hey. I just found your blog. very cool. you've got great pictures. I take it you have a good camera and a very good eye!

    Great Black Backs are so cool aren't they? I cant believe they eat shearwaters and ducks! and a snow goose?! awesome.

    I see you follow birdinggirl. catie's my cousin. do you two know each other?

    happy birding!

  5. hey...where r u? no birding lately??????????