Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Cusp

It is calm enough to watch the overhead birds without lifting my head, watching the reflections as they pass in the water near the canoe.  It is calm enough to identify the birds by reflection.  I spot a heron, the bird itself going unnoticed until I saw the image dancing a few yards in front of the canoe, that image much larger to my eye than the actual bird, which is just a tad short of being a difficult spot.

Heavy overcast holds the day at the cusp where dawn ends.  Even the birds seem subdued as if they cracked an eye at the usual time and thought,"no hurry".  Many of the larger birds that I expect to see don't appear to have yet arrived.

I put in on a rising tide, a tide that is almost mid high.  My eye level is just barely at the top of the spartina, which is green and lush and 8-12 inches high at this point...just enough to hide smaller animals.  It is still cool and the marsh smells of damp and decay as most of the mud is still exposed.
I paddle toward the point at times touching bottom with the tip of the paddle but never running short of water for the canoe.
5 ruddy turnstones and a dunlin

A ruddy turnstone flies by and disappears around the point.  When I get there I find several more, their feathering matching the rocks, oyster shells and sand to near perfection.  A flock of brandts is further up in along the shore in the main channel of the river.  They flush and it turns out to be a flock of 150-200.  They circle wide and return as I leave the area.
43 brandts

I take a clockwise turn all around the marsh, noting what is in place and what seems away.  Then, to extend the trip I take the narrow channel that diagonals back to the point.  In center marsh I spot four glossy ibises, individuals no longer in flock.  My eyes are well above the spartina at this point and I notice that the smell of the marsh has taken on hints of spice and sweetness with decay no longer present. And, back at the point I find that two dozen egrets, both snowy and great, have come in to feed.  For some reason, they have chosen to feed together in an rather small area.  The cusp of dawn has passed.

No comments: