Tuesday, February 2, 2016

From Ely's Ferry

At Ely's Ferry, one large pile of stacked ice remains on the cobble breakwater but on the beach only odd chunks of ice wait for the the next high tide to lift and carry them to another spot until they finally melt away, water to water.

As I get organized, floating ten feet from shore, an immature bald eagle passes over heading in the direction of Hamburg.  Then, I head up river against a good current, this section of the river being a long drawn out bend, and this side being the outside of that bend the current is just that much stronger.  But, the headwind is not severe and there is not one single cloud in the sky. 
Ely's Ferry

I make no decision on my route until I have to because I have no good reason to decide such things and my route choices all have good reasons to head in those different directions.  When I get to the middle of the mouth of Hamburg Cove, I continue past and up the river hugging the shore, scanning the trees, scanning the bottom of the river through the clear winter water...it seems that I'm always looking for something.

The water is thick with debris today.  Ice that formed on the shore has drifted off and melted, releasing the twigs, grasses, branches and litter that it captured in freezing.  Even floating in the river, the debris is recognizable as all that stuff that gathers in the cobbles and roots near the high water line.

Approaching the bottom of the Selden channel, I spot three mature bald eagles.  Two of them are doing mating flirtations, whirling and dancing and then grabbing talons and falling twenty feet before releasing and repeating.

beaver lodge
I head up the first side channel, the one where I've seen lots of beaver sign.  I find active drags and scent mounds, but the lodge seems that it might be abandoned.  Usually, lodges show some winter preparations and this one doesn't.  There is also a lack of winter food storage - saplings jammed in the river bottom that can be eaten if the river ices over.

I return, but this time I head into Hamburg Cove finding some large sheets of soft and easily cut ice.  The cove has a good number of common mergansers wintering in it.  I flush three dozen at the narrows where one can see the town.  It is far enough.  I head back out and down river to Ely's Ferry, but not before another young bald eagle can fly overhead.

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