Jennifer Steen Booher

The Bar, January 15, 2019 (Beachcombing series No.91)

The Bar, Bar Harbor, Maine; January 15, 2019 (Beachcombing series No.91)

On January 15 I walked down to the Bar – the thermometer at the house said 21ºF (-6ºC) but with the strong wind it felt much colder. There are always a lot of seagulls there, and they usually follow me around because in the bird world, anyone stooping and picking things up is gathering food. The wind today was so strong the birds just stayed huddled up in their feathers.

They were mostly herring gulls, with a couple of black-backed gulls and two crows. A lot of the birds were juveniles, and I spent some time trying to figure out if some of them were juvenile black-backs. This one is clearly a juvenile herring gull (probably a third-year bird, very close to maturity):

But what about this baby? I don’t think it’s a herring gull – something about the eyes. Herring gulls just have a mean look to them (see above.) A friend suggested it might be a juvenile Ring-billed Gull, but I’m stumped:

Here’s the mystery bird with a Herring Gull in the background – it looks like the shape of the head is different, too.

The Herring Gulls in transitional feathers look SO awkward!

After stalking the birds for a while, I moved on across the Bar, beachcombing and watching the tide. I noticed black blobs sticking to the barnacles:

Further investigation revealed they were some kind of marine algae, and I wrote about the blobs in a separate post. Wandering further, I came across some of the old herring weir piers:

And then I noticed a change in the mud:

Looking closely, you can see the paler stuff is crushed shells, and since it’s physically lighter than sand (which is eroded stone) the waves have distributed it in ripples:

All along the shore the water must have been super-cooled, because the bubbles semi-froze:

And where the foam washed ashore it froze in place:

At which point I went home to warm up before I too froze in place.

Top to bottom, left to right: Razor clam (Ensis directus), Soft shelled Clam (Mya arenaria), lobster claw band, Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis), partial crab claw, broken glass, plastic scrap, Slipper Shell (Crepidula fornicata), Blue Mussel, Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum), Green Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus drobachiensis), broken glass, Northern Rock Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides), Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), Common Periwinkle (Littorina littorea), Rock Crab (Cancer irroratus), Slipper Shell, Dog Whelk (Nucella lapilus), Periwinkle, Soft Shell Clam, Quahog

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