|Against The Wind|
At last, the beaches of Connecticut belong to hardy Nutmeggers. We in Connecticut are very lucky to have much more natural beach available than many of the overbuilt, hotel ridden shores of other states. Of course, in the summer the beaches of Connecticut are overrun with sun worshipers, and on any given day over 80 degrees, to find a spot to lay your blanket is often difficult. If you head toward the shore after the season is done, it is at times as if you own the beach alone. You may find an occasional family fishing or sailing, but the open sand, the gentle surf and the voices of seagulls rather than screams of people are a pleasant and calming experience.
|Searching For A Scrap|
I discovered the joys of winter beaching many years ago when I began bird watching. All my sun loving friends thought I was crazy to head to the beach in January, but if you bundle up with layers and put on your thermal wear, you don't feel the biting wind or the invisible coldness that settles on boardwalks or across jetties. The constant lull of the waves make you sleepy as you walk along the littered shore.
It is a great time to collect the rare sea glass that we all try to find while beachcombing in the summer. There are many whole shells to find because there is no competition from hundreds of summer residents. Though the bird population isn't nearly as varied as in April or October, you may find an occasional crossbill or perhaps an eagle flying by.
|Icy Pools - A Giant's Footpritns|
One of the best findings on one of my winter treks was that of a horned lark. I was tickled to see an entire flock near the Meig's Point parking lot. They are not the rarest birds for Connecticut, but it was the only time I have ever seen one. I still want to capture a snowy owl, though.
The Yellow rumped warbler is another common bird that you will find at the shore, usually closer to March. This tiny bird is difficult to see unless you notice in the distance a flittering bird jumping from branch to ground to branch. They are constant motion, perhaps the ADHD of the birding community. They are also rather bold, and will tolerate a photographer with a camera, and you can usually get a nice photo of this little warbler.
Take a trip to the shore in the winter for a peaceful time to collect yourself and to blow away the cobwebs that settle on our winter brains. The wind, the sea, the surf, the wildlife will revitalize you. Head to a dune, lay your blanket, and take your shoes off. They will stay relatively warm on a sunny day, and your body will rebuild some of the Vitamin D loss that occurs in the winter. It is a great way to ward off the affects of SAD ,more commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Winter depression can settle in on even the jolliest person. We all know about cabin fever, when the snow piles up, the skies are gray, and the cold never seems to end. You can't escape the cold with a winter trip to the beach, but you will find yourself feeling much more chipper and alive after a trip to the shore. Try it out if you haven't yet. It is one of the joys of living in Connecticut, where a trip to the beach from almost any point takes only about 1 1/2 hours by car. Besides, it is one of the best times to sample some of the beaches that are generally off limits to the public from April to October.