Sunday, July 27, 2014

East River, High Tide

L and I set out from the usual spot on the East River as the tide approaches high and the weather report of scattered thunderstorms seems to be askew.  Cloudy skies and a pleasant breeze soften the heat of the day and bring out some of the vibrant colors of the salt marsh, the green spartina not uniformily green with hazes of golds and reddishness at farther distances.  With the near high tide I steer us to a more interesting route.  We head up the Neck River, then Bailey Creek, and then into the narrow marsh sneak that returns us to the East River.  All the way, adult osprey fly and perch, leave the perches as we near, and scold us from their nests.  This years young osprey haven't left the nest yet, but it should be soon.  The willets, which normally make quite a racket when we intrude are unusually calm.  We also spot some great and snowy egrets, as always, but none of the glossy ibises.  It is L's first trip here, so I identify birds as we go, until I get to the point where I think he'll remember the names.

Above the stone arch bridge, I turn us back into the the little creek that drains from the hills where someone built a stone dam 160 years ago to power a sawmill.

I always try to take people in here.  I like showing them the collision of man and nature.  With the high tide, we paddle right to the remains of the dam.

Back in the river, we continue upstream, under the deadfall that guards Foote Bridge, under Foote Bridge, and into the swamp where the river becomes narrow and paddling is a contortion exercise.

The tide has turned, but with the lag, the current is still slack.  It catches up with us as we return.
By the time we've returned to the marsh sneak, the water is down a foot or so.  This narrows the sneak a surprising amount.  Another 1/2 hour and it would be a close call to pass through.
I don't know why, but the willets are far more aggressive on the return.  They are putting on the sentinel bird show, coming out and loudly scolding, circling around us and at times flying straight at us only to veer away with ten feet to go.  All that has changed is the level of the tide.  Perhaps they were sitting tight at their nests while the water was high.

scolding willet