We set out from near the ferry dock on a sunny and warm day, paddling into a light wind that will propel us on our return. The water is nearing high tide, but the river is already high, not yet flushed of spring melt waters.
It is S's first trip into the Selden Channel of the Connecticut River. Brushy forested banks limit the number of shore birds to be found, but near the bottom of the island are several osprey nests and the ospreys range over the entire area hunting for fish. But, it is fairly quite today...probably a result of our late start and the number of people that are coming out on the first nice day (in their minds, as all days are nice in mine). The first person into the marsh sees a fair amount more wildlife. It's a rule.
this side channel rounds the tip of the island and goes back to what seems to be a very active beaver lodge. We count seven scent mounds and I point out the small but well maintained lodge to S.
Back in the channel, an osprey lands nearby and begins to shred a fish that it holds down to the branch with its left talons.
Up ahead is one of the swans, their nest being about a 1/3 of a mile off back in a side bay of the pond that heads the channel. From 200 yards off, it takes off straight towards us. S has not seen this, although I've told her about it. It is an act of aggression on the swan's part, and S is firmly fixed in her seat watching it unfold, watching the enormous bird approach...the action and intent making the bird larger than reality. It touches down 20 feet to our right, the huge black feet slapping the water...flop flop flop flop flop while the wing tips brush the surface, the neck extending and retracting balancing the flight. Afloat, it holds its wings above its back and tucks its head down, but we continue on our way and we are sized up as no threat. It resumes the normal swan shape when we put fifty yards or so between us.