We set out on a falling tide with not much time to dally. Anyone who has gone hiking or mountain biking with me knows of my early starts and early finishes. It's about being in sync with nature and cutting one some slack for mistakes that will happen, given enough time.
We put in on the east side of the marsh. The heads of a couple of glossy ibises can be seen in the distance above the spartina grass. But for this trip, our heads will be down below that level. The tide is falling and we have something less than 2 hours to get out and return. Any longer than that and we will be sitting in a mud flat waiting for the water to rise again. I don't really like doing it this way.
With the shallow sloped mud flats partially exposed under the vertical bank that spartina forms, we are seeing a great number of shore birds, especially the tiny least sandpipers, but also dunlin and one black bellied plover. We try the diagonal cut through the marsh, but the water has already dropped to low for the passage to go. So, we take the usual route out to the point, where we don't find much. Then, we head upstream through the deep main channel inside of Nell's Island spotting a good number of small shore birds along the way.
The last stretch returning to the put-in is shallow but our timing has been good and we still have 6-8 inches of water. However, as I knew would happen, we have 40 feet of mud to cross to firm land. I've done this before, so I instruct S on how to lean her weight over the canoe and keep her feet moving while sliding the canoe to land. Stop your feet for a few seconds and you stick, but as long as everything keeps moving it is easy. She seems to find this entertaining.