Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bailey Creek

It was already warm when we set out.  The heat built a thin fog that obscured the distance.  At least the early start would get us the coolest part of the day.

It was barely past low tide and the mud banks of the Neck River and Bailey Creek were exposed to their fullest and no one had proceeded us up either waterway - wildlife would be where wildlife should be.

The Osprey were especially active, the adults busy hunting in order to feed the two or three chicks that were still in each nest.  The chicks have all gotten past the "hiding in the nest" phase and stand out in plain view, their colors nearly that of an adult except for speckling on the darker regions.  They vocalize and occasionally flap wings, but they aren't ready to fly yet, and they don't leave the nest until they can. 

osprey chicks
Willets constantly come out to call alarm at us, sometimes on wing and sometimes running along the shore.  In the still of the day, we round each bend as quietly as possible and are usually rewarded with a sighting...a half dozen turtles tumbling off the bank, three or four snowy egrets, or a couple of dunlins.  It is a fine day and it is a rare turn that doesn't give us a close view of something.  Near the top of Bailey Creek, where the water goes shallow at this tide level, we find a pair of yellow crowned night herons in a tree above an old boat shed.

Our way back is more labored, but only because this level of warmth takes the ambition out of us.  It is a more leisurely paddle with some lengthy stops to observe the osprey nests.  We note one nest where the chicks are a week or two behind the others - still mostly tan and quite a bit smaller.  One adult is tearing chunks from a fish and feeding a chick, mouth to mouth.  There is plenty of time before migration.
The little blue heron

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