|Kite, Halibut Point|
The Autumn wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
--Steve Sabol, "The Autumn Wind"
|Gannet, looking toward Plum Island|
The mild fall weather was broken last week by falling temperatures and an assault of northwesterly winds rising to 'moderate' gale on the Beaufort Scale. Thinking it might bring out the best in the character of ocean birds I went to the shoreline and tried to keep the camera steady.
Gannets are the overlords of the fishing flock. Most days they soar with the breeze and plunge on target from great heights. In a gale they bring their business down to the whitecaps, patrolling the troughs of the waves. To their long list of physical distinctions I would now add "torque resistant": they didn't twist apart in their sprint-speed maneuvers.
The wind shifted northeasterly and visited tumult on the shore. Some southward-moving birds that might have stopped at the waters around Halibut Point kept flying toward relative calm on the leeward side of the Cape Ann peninsula.
Strong-swimming mergansers chase fish much as cormorants do. They also demonstrated enough strength of wing to fly directly into the gale on their way around Halibut Point.
Wind is air in a hurry. It moves obediently from higher pressure (such as heavier air over cool land masses) toward lower pressure (such as replacing warm ocean surface air that rises to the upper atmosphere.) The wind has seasonal patterns and many idiosyncrasies imparted by physical geography, the earth's rotation, solar rhythms, and even organic life. The wind is an agent of energy.
|Last Light--Halibut Point, Folly Point, Hog Island|