|In the distance, the terminal moraine of the Wisconsin Glacier - AKA, Long Island|
Four ducks float together a 100 yards out to sea. Dark shapes in a bobbing chop, their names go unknown.
But, just after I have passed the mast, I see a lone male long-tailed duck bouncing in the chop, the color pattern unmistakable.
There is often a chop of unknown origin as I round this short section of shore coming up to Pond Point. Today is just that. But, as I sit near the point, it seems that the water is flowing north, a possible trick on the eyes played by the light wind and shallow waters. But, as I write some notes, I see that I am, in fact, drifting slowly back. Apparently, in the ebbing tide, the waters in the small bay at Calf Pen Creek sweep around the point rather than out to sea, as common sense would tell me it would.
I work my way into Calf Pen Creek, paddling upstream against the draining tide and using the underside of the low bridge to propel myself past the narrowest and fastest flow. It is quiet, as usual in the small tidal marsh. Just past the second bridge, I sight a kingfisher on an old piling before it has time to get up and scold me. Rounding the next bend, I surprise two hooded mergansers, spot two Canada geese, and flush a few black ducks and mallards. Tracks in the mud show that there were more geese here, and I find them as I spin the canoe to exit, a dozen geese watching me from where the first two were...and a hooded merganser swims out of a side channel, spots me, and flies off.