Monday, August 12, 2013

Early Morning Marsh

I start early with a falling tide - an already low tide and I paddle upriver next to an exposed mud bank, the open vistas of the salt marsh well above my head.  The willets are active, but preening more than hunting for food at this hour.  The birds seem to be waking up.  The overcast keeps it dark enough that I can't take all of the photographs that I want, but the light cooperates on at least a few.

Cedar Island

When the sun breaks through, the glint of last night's rain, and last night's dew, and the last high tide sparkles on the spartina grass spears that line the river, and it comes together with a spiced aroma of salt mixed with mud and decay and the exhalations of the marsh plants.


I come across the remains of a wooden boat just short of the railroad bridge.  It once had an engine of some sort - the pipes and metal fittings lie mixed with the wood planks and ribs.  It was hidden below the tide on previous trips.  It is not the only change that low tide brings.  Already, I am noticing a greater diversity of birds than I have before.


I get, perhaps, a half mile past my previous high point on the East River before I run out of water.  But, running out of water coincides with running into birds.  I turn back short of my geographical goal with two green backed herons, a great egret, a snowy egret, a great blue heron, a pair of lesser yellow legs, some sandpipers and an osprey all in sight.  I could stay, but the tide is not quite full out and to stay here some 3 or 4 miles upstream from the sea means staying for 3 or 4 hours, until the lag in the tide makes it back up here.

Little Blue Heron

With unexpected time and energy, just short of the put in, I turn up the Neck River, new water to me.  It runs closer to houses, but it is narrow and meanders always staying in the salt marsh.  The bird life is quite plentiful as well, with numerous osprey along with the variety of wading birds.

pair of young osprey

It has been a great day for bird sightings.

Mouth of the Neck River

For Zebulon Pike - I traveled 13-1/2 miles during 5 hours, shot 105 photographs but no deer.
Birds - whimbrel, black headed gull, osprey, willet, kingfisher, green backed heron, great blue heron, snowy egret, great egret, semi-palmated plover, lesser yellow legs, Canada geese, mallard, short-billed dowitcher

1 comment:

Dan McShane said...

The gallsy water at the strat looked so appealing. Lisa and I were at Flathead Lake and did some paddling and discussed your adventures and explorations as we went.