Just as I near the mouth of the river, leaving the gentle one inch high swell of a calm morning on Long Island Sound, an outboard skiff comes out, the driver standing at the wheel. He guns the throttle, an act of intention not related to playtime. The boat is 20 or 22 feet in length with high sides. It has all of the signs - the standing driver, the speeding out through a rocky bay with a moderately small motor, not one of the big monsters that the weekenders mount, and the white fiberglass hull with stains running down the sides...a work boat, a fisherman out to check his pots. He is eyeballing me, even from 150 yards. That is a common trait with working professionals...look beyond the boat at the person at the helm and they always seem to have eye contact with you.
It is cloudy, still and warm enough. If it doesn't rain, it will stay pretty much like that today.
I have only been in the West River once before. It was winter and high tide and passage was blocked at the first road bridge, the clearance at that water level being not more than three inches. It is a bit more of a working river than the East. I pass a compact marina near the mouth, mostly play boats, but a few working fishing vessels also present. Not much farther up is a forty or fifty foot motor yacht laid over on its side up against the trees about 200 yards away from the river...a Hurricane Sandy relic I suppose.
The marsh of the West is narrower than that of the East. But, it still provides space for willets and osprey and, at least this morning, a healthy population of snowy and great egrets.
I pass under the low road bridge with ease, telling myself to turn back in a half hour to be sure of clearing it on the way out, which also will let me gauge the rise for later trips. As it turns out, there isn't a half hour of river above the bridge, although there is plenty to make it worthwhile. I spot 2 bald eagles, one of which is a substantial size, more willets, more osprey, and more egrets. The river starts to run low as I near the Boston Post Road and I turn back.