By the time we’d gotten settled in at Greenport, it was well into the afternoon. But not so well into the afternoon that we could resist the prospect of a trip to Orient Point State Park, the North Fork’s ultimate park in the most literal sense.

Biking out to the point was incredibly pleasant. A pond along the way yielded my first-of-season Common Loons, as well as a large raft of Buffleheads and the usual complement of gulls. One of the interesting things about the winter plumage of the Common Loon is that it makes the birds look positively chunky – proof positive, I suppose, that dark colors are slimming. At any rate, dirty-ice-gray isn’t flattering on anybody, not even a bird iconic enough to grace currency.

As we reached the point, the ferry to Connecticut was pulling out. The path into the park was not immediately obvious, so we climbed over the parking-lot barrier and made our way up a muddy trail to the lighthouse at the very tip of the point, where we seemed like the only people in a long-abandoned world. More loons broke the surf, along with a Horned Grebe, a number of ducks too far out to be ID’d, and a solitary Ruddy Turnstone on a beach that provided stones to turn beyond the wildest dreams of turnstoning.

Turnstone and stones

Turnstone and stones

Unfortunately, on the way back we discovered that one of the reasons the ride out had been so pleasant was due to a tailwind which was now a much more obvious headwind; it was hard going, and aside from some calling Red-winged Blackbirds there was not much to report on the bird front as the sun went down and we made our way back to what passed for civilization. It was time to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow was another day…

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