Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Walking on Water

The Wilson's Storm-petrel is one of the most abundant birds on earth, but is rarely seen since it spends all its life on the ocean, coming to shore along the Antarctic coast only to breed. To escape the Antarctic winter it migrates to the northern hemisphere, summering on the North Atlantic, less commonly the Pacific.

On a pelagic trip off the coast of Massachusetts we saw them in large floating rafts which would disperse rapidly upon our approach.  Pattering with raised wings over the ocean surface foraging on plankton the birds looks like they are dancing.


 

 




 
When growing up I always dreamed of living close to the sea, of looking into the distance where water meets sky, and imagine far-away lands beckoning with strange lives and magical adventures. Well, here I am in land-locked Vermont...  I still love to visit the coast, walk along the beach, looking out over the ocean swell, watching the waves come in and dissipate in the sand.


 
I love the sounds the waves make.

When the noise around me gets too much I listen to a recording of ocean swells inside a rocky cave. Here is a snippet of End of the Cavern. The mp3 file is available here.


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28 comments:

  1. I'm with you ... nothing like the ocean! Those are such remarkable landing shots! I keep trying to get them while here in Florida .. not happening!

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  2. Hi Hilke

    I love the way you captured the acrobatic moves of the storm-petrel. I also once dreamed of living by the sea but our house and our cabin are both in the prairie and we do love them. There are always vacations and maybe the novelty of a new environment is what makes them special.

    Guy

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  3. Wow wow wow!! A beautiful post Hilke. A stunning series of flight shots and your seascape is wonderful... to read the post while listening to the sound of the ocean is fantastic

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  4. Wow those last two look like he's skimming the surface. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  5. HI Hilke...Oh do I ever love the ocean and forunately I am 40 minutes away....but I also love the mountains and have traveled through Vermont right next to the Candian border and it is beautiful. : }
    The sounds and waves are so nice and those last two photos are fantastic!!

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  6. Awesome post! The first photo is brilliant!
    Hugs:)

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  7. Great photos of the Petrels. I'd love to see them. Your photos of the sea are beautiful.

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  8. Hi Hilke. Land locked here as well so always enjoy trips to the ocean shoreline. Super shots of a species I have still to see.

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  9. I write with the sound of waves in my ears! How cool is that? I love the mood your writing evokes Hilke. Makes me long for the sea! The migratory treks that make up the lives of so many birds boggles the mind. How did I not know of this amazing bird? Thank you for the introduction!

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  10. The sound of the waves is like no other.
    Great post Hilke.

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  11. ...wow! Really cool shots! I love the sound of the ocean too...and we are even more land-locked here in Ohio! Thank goodness for trips to the ocean.

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  12. Hilke, I am amazed how similar we are. You , landlocked in Vt., me, landlocked on our farm and both needing the crashing ocean waves to set our spirits free. I too have recordings of crashing waves that I fall back on when things get to be too much.

    Superb shots of the Petrels walking on water, skimming it and every other way you have captured them Your photos of them are quite lyrical.

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  13. Hi Hilke, Great series on the Storm Petrel. I also love the ocean. I enjoyed this post and photos.

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  14. Hi there - what agreat post and set of images (and sound!)

    Cheers - Stewart M

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  15. I was surprised to see the webbed feet on this interesting bird.
    Now I want to go to the beach!

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  16. wonderful post and photos. love the waves :)

    dan

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  17. Awesome photos!
    Never even heard of this fellow before!
    :)

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  18. Thank you for your thoughtful comments! As to webbed feet, Jean, that makes it difficult for these birds to walk. They can only shuffle a short distance, just far enough to tend to their nest and their young.

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  19. I am also under a spell when the ocean is near...it is amazing! Wonderful petrel shots...OF Course I have Not Seen ONE yet!

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  20. Brilliant series Hilke. I recently saw my very first Storm Petrel but didn't have views anywhere as near as good as this!

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  21. That is a beautiful photo essay! And amazing that you were able to get pictures (with the lovely reflections) of this elusive bird. I remember when I first read about the petrels and how amazed I was that they could spend their whole lives at sea.

    Vermont is not a bad place to be if you have to be landlocked ;>)

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  22. I went on a Whale Watch recently and these Wilson's Storm-petrel skipped across the water.

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  23. Love the action shots! Very nice.

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  24. Thanks for the sea voyage, Hilke!

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  25. Hilke, I have yet to see a storm petrel anywhere! How lucky you were! I am still learning the birds of the sea after having lived out west for so long. I just returned from a trip to Lake Ontario and while I know it is not the same, I, too, was mesmerized by the sounds of the waves breaking on the shore. It was hard to pull myself away from it! Nice shots and so glad you got to go!

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