Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Dry Hands Day

The wind is already up by the time I start my portage down to the harbor.  It is a stiff NW wind (out of the NW) that pushes me down the harbor toward the opening to Long Island Sound, where I won't go, but also to the opening to the day's destination, Gulf Pond.

I spot seven buffleheads just before the rusty bridge.  They are the first that I've seen this fall.  It is also the first really raw day, a temperature of 45 F backed up by 20mph of wind.  I think to myself that it is a dry hands day - one where you go out of the way to avoid sticking your hands in the water because it takes so long to get them warm again.

I count birds, except for gulls.  I don't have time to count gulls if I want to paddle anywhere.  A flock of 50+ ducks flush when I am 300 yards distance.  I have a hunch that they are black ducks, but I just can't ID them from this distance.

greater yellow legs

For no real reason that I am aware of, I remember a dream that I had last night, or the night before, or some other night.  I dreamed that I was canoeing with a paddle that was much too short.  I like to think that it has something to do with life.

clams at the base of the spartina grass

Bird count in Gulf Pond: 10 buffleheads, 2 Canada geese, 2 mute swans, 5 greater yellow legs, 2 king fishers, 2 mallards and 4 great blue heron...a bunch of unidentified ducks, some uncounted cormorants and gulls, of course.
Of note, there are no egrets, either snowy or great, and I do not spot any osprey, which have been a constant since I started canoeing in here a month ago.

Gulf Pond
 At times and at certain places, the wind almost dies.  The flag at the house nearest the rusty bridge hangs limp until I get there.  Then it stands back out.  I pass under and up through the flood tide current and head back into the harbor.  It is just barely possible for me to make distance into the wind, which is coming straight out of the harbor.  I duck in as close to the big boats as possible and once or twice, I push off of a piling with my paddle.  When the harbor narrows some, I cross to the east side and find relative protection from the wind, sneaking along the shore under docks until I get to a place to take out.

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