Springtime in New England also looks like this . . .
Same town as the previous post, just a couple of days apart. "If you don't like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes," is what people here say, and people here are right. (The people actually have Mark Twain to thank for that saying, according to my exhaustive research -- okay, the thirty or so seconds I spent on snopes.com.)
These snapshots are of a small piece of open space right on the harbor, pretty much in downtown Milford. It has its own beauty even on a day as gray as this. A pair of kingfishers were by the water, flying in their crazy ziggy-zaggy way and occasionally darting out to try and spear a fish. I wouldn't have even noticed them, except that I was lucky enough to be there with Frank, the director of the Connecticut Audubon Society's Coastal Center at Milford Point. He is phenomenally attuned -- in a sixth-sense gifted kind of way -- to the merest flutter of a wing. I'm sure he knows what a bird is about to do before even it does!
Kingfishers kind of alarm me, to be honest. When I first heard one, only a few days ago, I just froze, because there I was in Connecticut, hearing what sounded almost like the notes -- bone-chilling to me -- that rend the air as a laughing kookaburra starts up. Well, turns out a kookaburra is a type of kingfisher. Apparently you can still be a kingfisher even if you don't fish, live in a eucalypt a long way from the water and eat lizards and insects -- or preferably delicious barbecue morsels. I used to love seeing and hearing the most iconic (if evil-sounding) bird of my homeland, and I like the fact that I can find its cousin here on the other side of the world.
Belted kingfisher. (Kevin Cole, www.kevinlcole.com)
(Pic: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)