I put in on the East River in a tidal marsh separated from the ocean by a couple hundred yards of very low land. The tide is flooding for the next 4 or 5 hours, but it is the flatness and nearness to the ocean that rules the trip - there is little protection from the wind and the clouds are increasing, clouds that look like the precursor to a thunderstorm brought on by the day's heat. There are several osprey, a couple egrets and more willets in one place than I've ever seen before. They call out in protest or warning or as a diversion even before I get close. What the area lacks in diversity, it more than makes up for it in numbers. There is an old shack on the shore that my friend Ellen would love.
I explore the mouth of the river, get my bearings so to speak, and then head up meandering through the broad level wetland. Short marsh grass dominates the flats above the bank with only two or three high spots where trees can take purchase. I sight an umbrella and lawn chairs along the bank, and three people that belong to them. As I approach, two wander off. They are counting sparrows and the two that walked off are retrieving a bird or two from nets that they have put out.
I spot a bird that I have never seen before. Almost black all over and about the size of a snowy egret, it flies off with long legs trailing behind and a long curved bill leading. (It is a glossy ibis and I will see a second one as well).
|Fiddler crab - the claw is as big as my pretty big thumb|
I've passed a couple bridges into a wide marsh plain that is bounded by forested hills. I paddle into a dead end, which seems more interesting than continuing on the river knowing that the river goes much further than I can, today. I think about the term "dead end" and its near complete inaccuracy being that there is always something worthwhile up (or down) a dead end. If Alice had not gone down the rabbit hole, what a fine adventure she would've missed out on. But, the birds have changed...I hear wrens and spot a few as they briefly rise above the grasses (slightly taller grasses here). A few turns in and there is a small wooden dock coming out of the forest with a rack of three canoes hidden well back in the trees. The wind change catches my attention. It is time to go and I turn.
The wind seems stronger and whether it is or whether it is the land form making it so is not for me to say, first time here as I am. It will be in my face as I near the ocean. The clouds are now overcast and I would rather paddle than tow my canoe into the wind or sit out a thunderstorm.
It is work without rest most of the way back, as I though it would be, but the willets sing to/at me from all directions all the way back. I think they are singing, "go away".