I put in on the Connecticut River near the seasonal river ferry dock and set out after a short talk with one of the ferry workers and a road crew, exchanging wisecracks about our seemingly endless winter. The tide is low and the wind stronger than I expected it to be, so I head downriver and upwind staying to my side of the river until I get a feel for what the conditions are going to be like. The river here is about a 1/3 mile across, but the wind is making effort much more than waves, and effort, at least to a point, I can deal with.
Common mergansers are the duck of the day out in the main river, more numerous than anything else, they are grouped in anything from two to about ten. A long steam whistle brings attention to a column of white cloud that has just come from the Essex locomotive, which might be doing a run in preparation for tourist season.
|osprey nests in a tidal fresh water wetland|
I pass the Deep River marina and the Chester Marina, and go a bit farther before cutting across the river. The lower mouth of Selden Creek, which is not really a creek but rather a side channel of the river, having been blown out by a flood in 1854, lies behind a long low wetland that extends downstream off of the main hulk of the resultant island. But, I guess that names stick better than reality. From the mouth I spot the beautiful old house that sits on the turn into Hamburg Cove...and I connect two different canoe trips.
|male wood duck|
There are mergansers as far up as the osprey nests - three natural ones set in busted snags, but still unoccupied. But, as I get closer to the hills and cliffs and leave the marsh behind, wood ducks and black ducks begin to dominate, although not nearly as many as the mergansers. I spot some recent beaver cutting and one somewhat disheveled bank burrow on what is a pleasant and protected paddle upstream towards where I started.
|another male wood duck|
|beaver bank burrow|