Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Add a Bird to the List That I Don't Have

A few days of strong winds and cold air have left, leaving just the cold air.  The morning is sunny, near calm and crisp, the temperature having dropped below freezing during the night.  The tide is rising to a higher than usual level by midday and plans of where to go are adjusted accordingly.

I put in after a short chat with a guy who is out walking his dog.  It is the usual good chat of eagle sightings and boats.  I paddle off up river.
There are a good many more great egrets than there were just a week ago.  With the marsh grasses beaten down from winter, sight lines are long and unobstructed.  Egrets and swans can be spotted from hundreds of yards without trying.  There are two swans in mid marsh building nests.  They sit in place and grab grasses from around them and tuck them under and around their bodies.

I take a turn into the channel on the south side of Fish Camp Ridge (formerly referred to by me as Archaeology Ridge, a name that just doesn't roll of the tongue) and scare up a few more great egrets, some black ducks, and a few teal.  I spot a tricolored heron out in the spartina, the first one that I've ever seen.  It is similar to the little blue heron but the white belly gives it away. (I figured this out later or I would've worked a bit harder to get a better photo).
Tricolored heron

I follow the channel along Nell's Island.  It dissolves into a bay that is at least a third of a mile across, the tide so high that the usual channels between spartina isles have disappeared.  I can paddle pretty much anywhere at this tide level.

Warning signs and ropes are up on Milford Point, a safeguard to protect nearly invisible piping plover nests from being stepped on.  A flock of more than a hundred brandts fly past and upriver while I am there.  The birds have, mostly, not been camera friendly today.

Instead of continuing my route around the marsh, I turn back upstream and take a diagonal across, taking in the rarity of being able to paddle anywhere, passing through places that are seldom visited.  The birds however, have receded into the distance along with the shoreline, which gives me time to fill the bow of the canoe with things that don't belong here.

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