Thursday, June 2, 2016

Near the Hadlyme Ferry

Nothing else quite sounds like that - a bit of wheeze with a bit of whirring and a dash of buzz.  Coming over my right shoulder are a half dozen swans, 15 ft up and 30 ft to the side...power flyers.  They head on down the river, down the middle of the big river, usually low but sometimes rising up 30 or 40 ft, a dotted white line on a backdrop of forest.  They must be a mile or more away when they finally blink out.
Therein lies Chapman Pond

I turn up from the little ferry dock and paddle the far side to the lower entrance to Chapman Pond.  I found this on my last trip here and this short section of meandering creek into the open pond is absolutely delightful.  Plants are in bloom; a couple white ones that I don't know and purple and yellow irises.  I think it's the white ones that smell so good.  At the bend with the tall dead top tree, a flicker calls out unseen.  It did this last time I was here as well.  I did not see it then either.  I'm sure that if I took my time I would find the perfect 2 inch circle opening to the nest...sure enough that I don't need to do so.  I turn back from the bottom of the pond and retrace my way in and go back down the river.

I just don't get this shit

Before the Selden Channel I admire the wildlife scare toys that the wealthy neighbors have placed on their property to keep nature at bay.  I do not get it.

Just as I enter Selden Cove, the big bad ass aggressive male swan comes speeding in flight from around the bend.  He lands a hundred yards off and turns toward me, head tucked low, wings held high, and pumping hard with the's a powerful pulsing motion that pushes a good bow wave off of his breast.  I've seen it before, it is a warning.  I'm familiar with this swan and I know it's all bluff, although a pretty effective bluff if you are new to him.  Now the trick is to not surprise the female.  At the top of the first bend I find the female in the backwater with four cygnets!  I move off. They move off.

Osprey taking off
The water is still high and there are a half dozen side trips in here.  I find a half dozen fresh scent mounds that I've not seen before just in between the cliffs.  A bit of a look and I find a couple channels that look just like beaver drag channels.  I don't see a lodge, but I don't have to.

I paddle on to near the other mouth and head back into the Elfin forest.  It's a narrow twisting channel that ends in a swamp of small stunted trees and shrubs.  I flush a male wood duck who drops a feather in the excitement.  I collect it.

I cross the main channel and head up toward the beaver lodge.  Beaver were in it 2 years ago.  Last year it looked like it might not be in use, but I couldn't be sure.  This time it is clear that it is abandoned. 
Red wing blackbird taking off

I head out from here, get taken off my game by a couple of idiot motorboats going way over the speed limit, tuck into Whalebone Creek, where I get my head back.  Then, finish the trip with a mildly windy crossing of the big river.

1 comment:

MyrtleMeander said...

When I was a kid, we would walk around a local lake, and the swans would chase us from the water's edge. One woman I knew pretty well, said she has a "magical connection" with them and they wouldn't chase her. I warned her that the swans were aggressive. Well, you know that swan must have turned his Magic Receptors off, because after it bit her, it chased her 1/4 mile from the edge of the lake and down the wooded path to the road! She reported this to me indignantly, like it was somehow -my- fault. Ah well, Nature.