I photographed this group of trees a couple of years ago at the northern tip of Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay. Any idea what species these are?
Although it can't be said definitively because of the picture quality, these are actually very likely maple trees. It's possible that they are either Red Maple (Acer rubrum) or sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) trees in spring leafout.
The Rhode Island Wild Plant Society claims that red maple is abundant on the northern part of the island.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension provides an incomplete but detailed list of trees that can tolerate salt spray.
I'm leaning toward Red maple because of the red leaves appearing -- this is more typical of A. rubrum compared to the often more yellowish spring leaves of A. pseudoplatanus.
Note: The salt spray and windy environment will cause these trees (and most vegetation along a coastline) to develop "strange" (often gnarly) tree shapes.