51 Comments
Nov 6, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

I've never seen a harlequin duck in person before. It's gorgeous. You're so fortunate to live on a coast. My sister wants to retire to Hatteras and I am thinking about joining her. We both love birds and oceans.

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Well, as a landlocked Vermonter, I'm 3 hours to the coast. But that's close enough! (Not as close as Hatteras, though -- your sister has a good idea, Kate!)

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Beautiful!

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Thanks! Yep, still a beautiful world — especially (as you well know) for children to inherit.

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Sounds like you had another rewarding day out and about in nature enjoying your extra hour. I would love to have seen those garnets and harlequins. Two of our favorites!

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You live in a most wonderful and beautiful state! (Correct any of my bad Mollusca ID's! 😀)

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Thanks and we are very lucky to be true Maine-iacs.

Your mollusk id's are correct, well done!

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I've only lived by the ocean for one period in my life--a couple of years in Australia--but learned how naturally the ocean and her tides slip into your blood. I still miss it sometimes. This was such a beautiful reminder.

Can't get over what a side-eye that sandpiper is giving you!

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You have come a long way -- in so many ways. And I'm glad you're now living all the more closer to Vermont!

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Only, like, 2500 miles 😂

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 7, 2023Author

Oh so close! 😆

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Thank you for gifting us that hour in the cove .

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Thanks, Lor. And that cove was indeed a gift to me!

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

I'm pretty sure your little pink fragment is plastic. That is a color that is uncommon in the natural world, I think. Somehow the pigments that are made for plastics are particularly garish. It must be something about the chemistry involved in the process of coloration.

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Yeah, of course -- but I can always dream of stranger things.

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Well, let the microscope make the call !

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Just taking a moment to thank you once again for the pleasure of your posts. Many birds we don't see here in the Northwest, or if we do I have not had the pleasure. All your posts are respites by the way, for which I am so grateful.

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Thanks for that kindness, Kathy. You've got Harlequin Ducks close to the Pacific shore, and rafts of ducks that will soon be courting. Hope you can get out to find them!

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Nov 7, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

My husband still remembers having you point out a Harlequin on a trip birding the ME coast many years ago!

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I remember it as well! I did love those trips!

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Nov 7, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

As is the case with every issue, a pleasure to read and reading that leads to contemplation of the world. Thank you, my friend.

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Thanks, John. Means a lot to me coming from you.

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I had a wonderful adventure this last summer in Maine. Thank you for letting me reimagine it and plus seeing some birds that I didn’t get to see, but I got to see through your eyes.

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Although it doesn't suite most folks, early November can be wonderful in Maine as well. But I'm glad you had a nice adventure this past summer!

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Thank you for sharing your extra hour with us ... inspiring.

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Nov 7, 2023·edited Nov 7, 2023Author

Thanks, Jeanne. As you well know, "inspiring" is easy outdoors! 🌿

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Nov 7, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Where in Maine were you? The only ducks I usually see on our bay in Corea in fall and winter are mergansers, buffleheads, and goldeneyes.

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Dyer Point, south of Portland. Closest Harlequin Ducks to you might be Schoodic!

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My truest ambition throughout my life has been to been to be a beachcomber. Expansiveness, light, tides, salt smell, grandness of the mighty ocean and the delight of examining treasures it lays up on the sand.

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Mine, too! Let's aspire together! (You need more actual beach at home!) 😀

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When Angela and I go on a trip we end up exploring beaches- a favorite was Crete in November. Hopefully next- the Isles of Scilly but I haven’t been to the Outer Banks and I can hear them calling.

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The Pepto fossil looks like an agate. This was the loftiest of agendas. I need to schedule similar hours, myself.

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Oh, I suspect you do indeed have many hours like that well in mind! (I'm thinking Barbie-era detritus on the Pepto fossil. Stay tuned!)

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I would love to be in Maine, but at least we can enjoy your story. Thanks!

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Thanks, Diane. I'm actually a Vermonter in practice but a Mainer in spirit. If I didn't live in Vermont, I'd live in Maine -- and perhaps nowhere else in the world. (Please give Paddy a pet and a scratch in just the right places from me and my pup Odin!)

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Thanks, Bryan! Do give Odin the same from Paddy. I guess after living in Sweden 3 years, I see Maine and Vermont as a bit closer!

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Bryan, you continually impress me with your soulful pragmatism, and this repurposing of that reclaimed hour feels like a shooting star level of insight. Bravo. And thanks for sharing it. Haven't seen any Harleys here yet, but that doesn't mean they're not here. They just tend to hang in more open water areas than my usual, back of the bay haunts. I'll keep my eyes out, now. A handful of the horned grebes that winter over here seem to have arrived overnight and the cormorants seem to be back, as well, so wintering water birds are moving in. Still no goldeneyes. We usually have a bunch of both Barrow's and Commons, but can they take their time getting here. Anyway... another gift, wrapped and signed by you. Count me grateful, friend. May the winds of November be sighs, and may they whisper your name whenever there's something magical to behold.

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Thanks, David. I'm sure others will agree: you might be the best "commenter" ("commentor?") on Substack. I'll probably write this winter on goldeneye courtship -- the "head-throw—kick," as I think it's called. A genuine turn-on (even among those of us who aren't female goldeneyes). Keep us posted on arrivals out your way!

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Bryan, your essay got me thinking, and then it got me doing. Went around to the other side of the peninsula I live on, today and there, in the roil and surf, Surf Scoters, Buffleheads, Cormys and yes, a handful of Harleys, one of whom was swimming and diving not twenty feet off the seawall for a while. Couldn't figure out how to post a pic up here so I'll put it in a 'Note' on my stack.

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