It is a slow and easy trip, a watchful paddle starting at low tide, the tide where the birds that come down to the water are most exposed. The top of the bank forms the near horizon, a long line two feet above my head topped with new spartina grass. The willets have just begun to use their loud sentinel call, the warning to all within earshot that there is an intruder. Perhaps nesting hasn't started yet, because many of them stand still and in silence as I pass, it is only a few that carry on. One flies away from me calling the warning and I can see how it sets its wings for a glide, and then the wings flutter and vibrate as it sends out the call.
|There is a willet in this photo.|
The willets become fewer as I ascend the river. They prefer the wide open short grass expanse of the lower marsh. But, other birds fill in - great and snowy egrets, a family of Canada geese, and some sparrows, and turtles become increasingly present.
The turtles slide off of the bank before I am close and I watch one with less grace tumble end over end into the water. Once in the water, they poke their heads up and watch me...dozens of thumb sized periscopes. I don't expect to see the glossy ibises as they usually are up in the grass jabbing their bills into the mud, but when I am midway between the rock pile and the stone arch bridge, a flock takes flight and I count 17.
I tun out of enough water at the Duck Hole Farms and turn back.
|Duck Hole Farms|
This time, I find the ibises at the rock pile bend. I hear their call for the first time...a nasally swallowed drawn out ducky croak/honk. It is better than the call of a great blue heron, but not by much.