Blues, running

Yes, there was a time when this title would have been about a New Orleans footrace. But today it’s about bluefish in a feeding frenzy.

This was one of those mornings that I wanted to change up the daily walk routine. Yesterday I’d missed the moment of sunrise because I was behind a hill and some trees; Nick had mentioned on Sunday morning that the sunrise had been beautiful at the crest of Asylum road next to the North Burial Ground, so today I took the camera and walked from the Coggeshall Farm entrance up to the burial ground.

As it turned out, there was a bank of clouds that obscured the sunrise and kind of changed the timing of the coloration of the sky, so things were interesting and beautiful but not spectacular. Harrumph.

Sunrise, North Burial Ground, Bristol, RI (1920 x 1200 pixels)

Sunrise, North Burial Ground, Bristol, RI (1920 x 1200 pixels)

But there was this kind of feeling that there must be something happening out there that had nagged me into bringing the camera out and changing my route. So I went back by the marsh where the heron and the egrets hang out, pretty  sure that I’d catch them there. They had been there yesterday when I didn’t have the camera, so I anticipated the possibility of a heron shot or two.

Heron in the salt marsh at the head of Bristol (RI) harbor

Heron in the salt marsh at the head of Bristol (RI) harbor (1920 x 1200 pixels)

And sure enough, there he was. But too close to the edge of the road to really let me get both close and unobstructed. An egret hung about for a bit but got spooked and flew off. So, a little bummed out, I took my heron shots, hoping that I could get a shot of him as he flew off – it’s usually just a matter of time before he tires of my stalking him.

A sound of waves behind me distracted me a little. It was a still morning and I couldn’t figure out what could have made waves in the harbor. But the sound was enough to make me miss the heron’s takeoff; I snapped off a shot as he circled to the harbor side, but all I got was the tip of a wing, out of focus, at the edge of the picture.

But just as I returned to my bummed-out state, I realized that the sound of waves was actually the sound of hundreds of bodies slapping the water as the bluefish worked their way towards me, chasing the menhaden into the shallows at the head of the bay.

Which, of course, made my day.

Bluefish chasing menhaden, Bristol (RI) bay

Bluefish chasing menhaden, Bristol (RI) bay (1920 x 1200 pixels)

It made for a few minutes of novelty, bluefish bodies slapping the water (one’s body is visible in the foreground, above), seagulls hovering and wheeling to pick up a leftover tidbit, and one very busy cormorant (head visible to the left of the two seagulls on the left side of the picture). The egret even made a slow pass overhead but appeared to decide there was just too much going on to feel comfortable about going in low. Two fishermen on the seawall pulled in bluefish every time they cast.

Which, of course, totally vindicates my having hauled the camera along and changed my route. Except that I missed Nick who had come out to walk with me assuming that I would use my regular route. I told him it was all his fault anyhow for having told me about the sunrise Sunday morning.

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