Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Seashore Day

It is a seashore day - cloudy overcast with a heavy damp air and a chilling breeze.  It is also low tide, or an hour past it I suppose.  So, although my distances will be shortened by low water in the upper sections of the river, the muddy spartina banks will be exposed drawing the shorebirds in to feed where I can see them. 
The top of the marsh above me, I will be paddling in a strata that was laid down a hundred years or more before.  I wonder if people think about how far back in time the bottom of their dock pilings are...
My osprey theory proves correct today, swiveling my head around I verify that there is at least one osprey in the air at anytime.  A heavily laden one lumbers across the river with a large porgy in its talons.  They all seem to be eating well today.
Least Sandpiper
Instead of the East, I have headed up the Neck River.  Where I take the fork up into Bailey Creek, there is a long section of what is probably corduroy track.  It looks like someone, about 2-1/2 feet of spartina accumulation ago laid down a section of saplings and small logs to make a crude roadway.  Spartina was known as salt hay and was mowed for livestock food.  The entrance to the creek is through a break in an old dike...access to the corduroy road from dry land.
corduroy road
I'd only been up the creek at high tide but there is plenty of water until the last 200 yards.  It is good bird watching - egrets, cormorants, dunlin, willets, yellow legs, sandpipers, geese, and one glossy ibis that is carrying nesting material in its long curved bill...solving my question.  I spot the ibises in April and early May, then they disappear.  But they don't disappear too far away, rather they have built nests nearby and don't venture too far until their young can fly.
might be a migrating short billed dowitcher

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