Thursday, November 1, 2012

After the Storm

It is a cool sunny day with a stiff SW breeze.  I put in a full hour and some before high tide in the big marsh at the mouth of the Housatonic.  A hurricane came through three days ago and it is time to see what has changed in the marshes.  Big storms back in Seattle always changed wildlife behavior for a few days as well as having longer term effects on the landscape.

The marsh is a surprise.  What is surprising is that the marsh appears unchanged in anyway.  While my town is busy removing downed trees, putting power lines back up, and removing or dealing with a few dozen unrepairable beachfront homes, the marsh goes on as if nothing happened.  The browning marsh meadow grass is as it was with not a blade broken.  During the height of the storm it must have laid flat on the surface, until the storm surge swallowed it by several feet.  I expected to find debris in the marsh as well, but that is not here either.  In fact, the marsh seems cleaner than ever.

I head into the wind until I reach the sand spit that guards the mouth of the river.  I get out briefly and observe the flow patterns left on the sand and beach grasses from when the spit was submerged.  I follow this spit back toward the beach houses.  Here, they all seemed to have weathered the blow, although a few dumpsters show that there is some reworking to be done.  But these are the priciest of beach houses, the ones that are built high and strong with a sacrificial first floor.  Farther east in the older neighborhood, it is a different story.

I spot a kingfisher, about 40 black ducks, 4 mute swans, 6 cormorants, a pair of hooded mergansers, a pair of snowy egrets, 3 coots, and a total of 4 great blue herons.  I wonder where the birds were hiding when the storm came through.

Milford Point - the sand spit

When I finish for the day and I get out of the wind, the instant warmth on my face reminds me of how raw the winter wind will be on coming trips.  That warmth is a feeling that I remember from very long ago.  It is comforting.

No comments: