Monday, October 15, 2012

New Waters, New Birds

It is a warm and almost balmy day and it would be so if it weren't for a steady 15 mph wind blowing off of the sound.   I set out from a wooded bank into a large marsh estuary near the mouth of the Housatonic River and set an upwind route.

The tide is still flooding with two hours to go.  The base of the spartina grass is awash by a good two or three feet.  Where I came from on the Salish Sea, spartina was an aggressive invasive plant that people spent much time and effort to remove. Here, it is native.  It seems to hold the ground together quite well.  When low tide comes it will be completely out of the water.

I don't go far before I see a female (or juvenile) surf scoter.  Then, there is a pair of little blue herons (about half size to the great blue heron).  I shoot a photo of a brownish heron that I do not recognize (it turns out to be an immature yellow crowned night heron).  I spot a swan in the distance over the tops of the grass.  With my head down, a pulsing wheezing squeak draws my attention up and I see the massive swan fly over.

juvenile yellow crowned night heron
I paddle steady into the wind.  It is work, but I am rewarded with steady headway.  There is a narrow and low sand spit that separates the marsh from the ocean and it is crowded with a double row of houses that seem to deny climate change.  Amongst them is the Audubon Society "castle".  Apparently bird watching is quite popular here.  They have a sign that tells me that I can't come ashore.

mute swan with brants farther out to the right

There is a good sized flock of brant geese to my right and a second swan ahead.  I reach a narrow spit of sand and cobble and decide to return in the direction of my put-in.  The wind carries me at times at a surprising speed through the narrow channels in the spartina.

It is time for lunch when I get there.  But, I would rather eat in the canoe, so I head out once more into the wind.

1 comment:

Dan McShane said...

Great to see you behind a paddle again even if its 3,000 miles away. Lots of new adventures ahead