Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gooseberry Island - Westport Massachusetts

Gooseberry Island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. The island is part of the Horseneck Beach State Park Reservation. There is a parking lot at the beginning of the island. People use the island for walking, sunbathing, fishing, boating, bird watch and and of course photography.
The island is surrounded on its western side by Rhode Island Sound and on its eastern side by Buzzards Bay. There is on the Buzzards Bay side a bathing beach and a boat ramp. bl D7K_2389-Edit August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000The rest of the island is surrounded by mainly cobbles with sand present at low tides.
For an excellent account of Gooseberry's history you need to look up the Gooseberry Journal at <http://gooseberryjournal.wordpress.com/>
I arrived early in the morning, on a cloudy day, at low tide and walked up onto the Northeast Beach where I observed a number of sea ducks feeding among the rocks and shorebirds working the wrack line. I found a "comfortable rock" where I could sit down low with my camera and lens on a tripod in front of me and allow the birds to get used to me and come to me.

b Common Eider Shacking off Water D7K_2286 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Common Eider

b D7K_2254 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Common Eider
b Surf Scoter D7K_2331 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Surf Scoter
I was pleasantly surprised when among  the common eiders there were a few surf scoters. Usually the surf scoters do not come in close enough for great picture taking. However, today I was very lucky.




b D7K_2402 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Least Sandpiper

b D7K_2469 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Semipalmated Plover
b rUDDY tURNSTONED7K_2236 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
RuddyTurnstone
lThere were a number of species of shorebirds present. The interesting part was of the shorebirds were still in breeding plumage and a Spotted Sandpiper was already in winter plumage.b D7K_2440 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000b D7K_2456 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Most of the shorebirds will be migrating southward although some to spend the winter in the Westport area.
Another yearly phenomenon that occurs on Gooseneck is the large gathering of swallows prior to their migration southward. There were many swallows flying in from the mainland and landing on the Phragmites, b D7K_2479 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000b Tree Swallow on Phragmites D7K_2494 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000where they would stay for a while then fly and hover around.b Tree Swallow SwarmD7K_2529 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
I stayed up until a lot more people arrived and started walking their dogs on the beach which of course disturbed the birds in my photography. Dogs are permitted on gooseberry in this golden retriever was enjoying the water by swimming after a ball.bl D7K_2422 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
There were a number of fishermen on the Rhode Island sound side either fishing from the shoreline or from the causeway and a few were fishing out utilizing kayaks.bl D7K_2569 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000
Because of how Gooseberry is positioned it lends itself to sunrise and sunset photography. There is much to photograph on the island and you can just take snapshots or decide what you want to photograph on that day and concentrate on it.bl flowers and rockD7K_2191 August 06, 2011 NIKON D7000

Here is a map of Gooseberry that is copied from the Gooseberry Journal satellite_named