|Cedar Island from Bailey Creek|
There are not more osprey than one can count, but there are more osprey than I care to keep track of while trying to count. It seems that all of the osprey that will nest in this area are already here. All of the nest boxes have been taken and at least five or six can be seen in the air at any one time. As I head up the Neck River, I spot two willets on the bank. They are the early ones, because willets nest here in large numbers during the summer. It might be my imagination, but they look thinner than I remember them, and that might be, their spring migration ending here. They trot ahead of the canoe instead of flying off as if they have had enough flight time. A couple of great egrets hunt out in the plain of spartina grass, the high tide placing me at a good vantage to see across the wide, still golden yellow marsh.
I take the turn off of the Neck and into Bailey Creek and in a few full meanders I cut back left into the sneak, a narrower channel that leads inland and back to the East River. The sneak is only canoeable in the upper two feet or so of high tide.
There is a eight or ten yellow legs at the bend just above the mid-river rock pile, which is submerged but still shows its location by rippling the surface of the water.
I pass T near the old dam as he heads back down river. But first, we pause and talk again.
I wondered if I might see them. I wondered when they would arrive in the marsh, and whether they would come in numbers or in ones and twos. But there, on the low spartina island in the bend above the mid-river rock pile are fifteen glossy ibises. My first two attempts at a photograph fail to focus on their inky dark brown bodies, but they stay near, flying as a flock when they fly and I am surprised most that they are not larger. I have only seen them from a much greater distance and here, about 50 yards off, they turn out to be about the size of a snowy egret.
I take the sneak back, the water having dropped but not so far as to stop my passage. I find a fine raccoon track smartly laid on the side of a discarded wine bottle, and I come across two little blue herons, which are more blue than when I saw them last summer for the first time. Now, the name makes more sense.
|a rare example of a raccoon track|