Monday, October 8, 2012

Out of the Harbor

I portage through town down to the harbor with no conversation until I have to negotiate a tight bend in the walking bridge while two women watch.  It is a calm and grey day as well as the first cool day of the fall with the temperature hanging in the 50's.  The tide is low, but at a +2 it is not at all a low-low tide.

I paddle through the well protected harbor out to the opening to Long Island Sound.  I am tempted to go out into the salt water, but that was not my plan.  Instead, I turn left back inland into a marshy tidal flat known as the Gulf Pond.  There is a serpentine channel of water deep enough for the canoe, but it is somewhere in a 200+ yard breadth of murky water.  My eyes look down as often as up as I try to stay on the channel.  The bottom is mud or oysters.  I prefer mud to the other, which can be pretty tough on the bottom of the canoe.  This has been a shell fish harvesting area for a long time.  It was famous for oysters, but M tells me that disease nearly wiped them out.  The stock is returning through restoration efforts.

"Living Shore"...the word for the day
The entire bay has "living shore" - this is the term for the sea grass berms that are planted (if they did not already exist) at the edge of the water.  There are houses on the bay, but every one of them has a living shore buffer, even the ones with sea walls, where they just put the living shore in front of the intact wall.  I wonder why I did not see this in Seattle.  The sea grass not only filters runoff and stabilizes shoreline, it forces the residents to contend with having osprey, egrets, herons, hawks and other wildlife right in front of their windows.  The people with docks just run them out over the grass to the open water.

I see about a dozen egrets, both the "great" and the half sized "snowy".  There are also osprey, Canada geese, mallards (I haven't seen any other ducks other than mallards so far), and gulls.

Snowy Egret and bivalves

Gulf Pond is two bodies of water with a passage under a road bridge connecting them.  At a second road bridge I pass into a small pond.  The upriver exit takes one to the Indian River, but at this tide level it would require and ankle deep portage under a railroad bridge.  I return.

Back in the harbor I sit off of the forested Wilcox Park while 4 Mute Swans feed at the shore and 3 osprey do their osprey things.  While watching one of the swans, a splash draws my eyes to an osprey taking off from the water with a fish in its talons.

Stone Bridge - upstream in the harbor

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