Sunday, March 6, 2016

High Tide

It is above the stone arch bridge, near the Duck Hole Farms, that I notice that I am the noisiest creature in earshot and then some.  Only when I pause my paddling do I catch on to the din that my paddle has been making with all the swirling and gurgling that comes from a power stroke.  It is quite a calm day.  It almost makes my ears hurt.

I put in near the confluence of the Neck and East Rivers just as the tide begins to cross the broad top of the even sinusoidal wave that describes tides in this area.  As I head up the Neck, I observe the vegetation and pilings just to convince myself that I have not misread the tide chart, as my car is parked not more than 3 inches above the water level.  The ebb is slow today and I paddle a short hour before I start to notice and inch of wet above the water.

The osprey nest that was built last year on a detached dock is below eye level and I stop to examine it.  It never seemed a secure location for a nest and I did not see the pair raising any young.  The nest is intact with an old sandal near the center and the carapace and wing bones of an unidentified bird left behind.  The bones are what I would expect from a medium sized shore bird...larger than a pigeon, but smaller than any duck. I suppose they could also be from a young osprey.  I collect them.
Osprey Nest

Cloud cover during the night kept the temperature warm enough and the wind that comes from the north is hardly worth the paper it takes to describe it.  I push some buffleheads up the Neck and then up Bailey Creek, but there is not much else for bird life down here.  The Sneak is broad at this tide level, so much so that it takes much less time to pass through as each of the kinked bends has been widened into gentle curves.

When I pass the highway bridge the bird life improves.  I flush mallards and some Canada geese and a good number of black ducks take to wing from the typically large distance that they customarily do.
mid 19th century sawmill dam
I pass under Foote Bridge and over boulders that are well buried in the high water but I stop short of the jungle, the last 1/3 mile of paddling, because it is also half gymnastics.  The tide is now dropping fast and the current has picked up.  It will be an easy return.

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