Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Day of the Gift Horse

It is an if-not-now-when day, sunny and in the 40's with a cool but not troublesome breeze with a weather forecast that says, "land bound for the next few days".  I end up at the Salmon River with hopes of collecting the rest of the swan feathers that I need.  On the way into the cove, I spot and flush a great blue heron, and then I see that lone osprey that has been hanging around.  It whistles, I watch it is an osprey, no doubt about it.  I wonder how well it will over-winter and why it is still here and not a thousand miles south.  It seems a little small, but it is not injured and flies as well as one might expect.

As I watch the osprey, four swans round the point in flight formation and pass by.  But, there are almost no feathers to be found.  It seems that the fall molt is well over and my project that needs the feathers can be put aside for a few months.  There are about 50 swans in the cove today.

All the same, the tide is still high, lagging an hour of more behind where I live, the 20 miles of river between here and the ocean constricting the ebb.  I head up to the Moodus, which comes in from the east at the top of the cove.  With the tide up, the current will be near slack in the short forested river and it will be paddleable bank to bank, the gravel bars well deep enough for a canoe to pass over.  I turn back where Johnsonville comes into view, where the first cobble shallows would require me to wade, and I pick up three specimens from elbow deep winter water - a fresh water mussel, and two broken pieces of ceramic.  My bare hands don't sting from the cold and rewarm in a few is not really winter.
mouth of the Moodus

On the way back out, I tuck into a shallow marsh bay at the head of the cove that seldom has enough water to float the canoe...and I collect a vagrant duck decoy.

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