Friday, January 17, 2014

The Yellow Duck

It's a fine sunny day.  I watched the sun rise up over the sound, an enormous orange ball looking very much like the fire that it is.

I put in at the feral cat park, pushing my way out through a hundred feet of shattered panes of ice, the remnants of a recent cold snap.  A moderate breeze and the last hour of rising tide helps me as I paddle upstream.  To be honest, the tide creates more current in this section of the big river than does the river itself.  I hug the shore, as usual, both because that is where there is the most life and because the banks and trees or marsh soften the current and the wind.


The government has been doing some phragmite control and a large patch of marsh has been cut to the surface to shock the plants so that a herbicide next year will kill them.  Phragmites is the baleen of the coastal rivers.  A seriously bad invasive reed, it grows closely spaced and filters out and holds floating debris every bit as well as it discourages birds and animals from having access.  The big mowed patch is loaded with plastic debris that has accumulated over several years, if not longer.  One normally doesn't see so much garbage, but in the winter sparseness, with the plants gone dormant, it is easy to spot.  I could easily fill my canoe to the brim in several areas without having to get more than a hundred feet from the boat.  It's a bit gross.

I try to focus on the better things, the common mergansers out in midstream, the Canada geese tucked up on this side of the island while two hunters walk the other shore, and a few buffleheads here and there.  There's not many birds around today.  Sometimes out here, I spot bald eagles and red shouldered hawks, and of course a variety of birds that migrate through. 

#2365 in situ

At the downstream end of Great Flats (some of the islands are referred to as "flats"), I spot a yellow plastic duck.  Retrieving it, I find that it has been numbered 2365 on the bottom.  I suppose it is a runaway from a local rubber duck race, where some well meaning organization tosses hundreds of plastic bath toys in the water.  There's something not right about that.

I collect the specimen, and round Great Flats to return, not wanting to fight more of a wind than I already have.  Time to figure out where the specimen originated.

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