Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chasing Fish

The winds of the recent weather front have left and it is as calm as ever.  The visibility is good, but the clouds in the sky join the horizon with no definition and the distant great island remains hidden.  An egret passes, and then, a flock of cormorants all stretched out in a line flying just inches above the water.  I watched them come from some quite distance, so visible in their blackness.  Low tide is less than a hour past and the exposed green decked boulder groins stretch finger like into the sea.  The canoe cuts swiftly and with ease through such calm water and I keep an eye out for submerged rocks, the usual telltale ripples being absent with such a smooth surface.

I'm thinking that all of the bachelor loons have finally left and gone north to inland lakes.  The nearest silhouettes to them are the cormorants, who while being similarly low floating birds, identify themselves by holding their chins high. And then, I spot a loon at distance out in the bay where Calf Pen Creek empties.

As I leave Pond Point, I spy a disturbance in the water ahead.  It looks like the ripples that signal a shallow spot, but I remember no shallow in that location.  The ripples move slowly, turning an arc that is as wide as my canoe is long.  Then, the two of us approach a meeting spot.  It passes under the bow, a blunt headed rough bodied shape, at least as long as the canoe.  My mind says, "whale", for just a moment.  Two dozen fins break the surface as a dense school of fish goes deep.  I ran into one of these last fall, unaware of what it was until I felt and heard the drumming of them on the bottom of the canoe.  I still don't know what type of fish they are.

I paddle out to Charles Island.  It is an egret nesting site, and as I get closer the square law of point sources holds - the number of flying egrets that I see increases by the inverse square of the distance.  The great egrets are easy to spot in the trees, but the darker black crowned herons are only seen when they fly.  The trees have leafed out and the cover for them is vastly improved.

When I get back to Pond Point, I find that school of fish still swimming about.  I try to follow them for a few minutes before thinking that I have something better to do.

A well-loaded oyster boat returning to Milford Harbor

No comments: