The walk is easy, except for the last bit, a 40 foot stairs down the seawall, a stairs that is knee deep in snow. But, canoes slide well on snow and I just lower it with the stern line while walking behind. A loon wails. It is the call of a common loon, a bird of my Minnesota youth. I translate it into "welcome back, where were you?" It seems odd to me that on the very first day that I put my canoe in from our new home, such a bird should come to greet me.
I head up the coast in waters I've not yet seen. When I near the rocky point a mile up I spot a long tailed duck (formerly called and "old squaw"). It is silhouetted by the sun, but there is no mistaking it.
As I continue, edging along the rocks, I find a sandpiper that I do not know. It has a very pointed bill with yellow at the base...an unusual feature for something like a sandpiper. I find a few more of them.
In Seattle, I called days like this "tennis ball days" because they were calm enough that I could spot a tennis ball (non-biodegradable dog toys - I guess people think that stuff they throw in the water just goes away) from a 1/4 mile or more. But, there are no tennis balls out here today. Instead, it is bird calls. Bird sounds are traveling unimpeded over unusually long distances. There is a nasally "uh-uha-uh"...starting with a low note, peaking with the "a" and returning to the low note. I've not heard it before. I track it to a small flock of ducks that turn out to be long-tails calling back and forth. I see several horned grebes.
|The put-in. The take-out.|
I head down the coast, past my put in, to the next point so that I can see the layout of the next cove, which has a creek that drains a large marsh that will be a future trip.