Sunday, July 3, 2016

East River

I set out from near the sea riding a flood tide that won't top out for three more hours.  But, since it is a high high tide the current is a good 1/2 mile per hour or so and the spartina speeds by. 

The birds are quite active this morning with ospreys soaring or protecting their nests, most of which have a downy chick or two in them at this time.  The willets are more animated than usual, a sign that their nests are at some critical time.  They usually ignore osprey and egrets, but today they seem a bit more aggressive, flying out and calling out their warning until the larger birds have moved off.  At the first big bend, all of them are in a tizzy and I suspect that there might be a four legged predator somewhere out in the marsh grass.
willet in the spartina
Cedar Island

I spot a few glossy ibises as I head up the Neck River and into Bailey Creek.  And then it was up through the circuitous Sneak and back into the East River.  The middle marsh is relatively calm compared to the lower marsh.  As I near the Rockpile, which is well submerged already, I close up on two kayakers.  They are talking and dipping paddles.  By coincidence we reach the big bend with the island in it and when they take the outside, I take the inside speeding past them.  I am glad that they are out here enjoying the river, but I am also glad to not have to hear or see them.  In a minute or two I can return to my undisturbed conversation with the birds.

seaside sparrow
Above the stone arch bridge the marsh goes to fresh water.  Cattails replace the spartina, the willets disappear - the terrain not providing the open view safety that they desire.  But, I begin to push several kingfishers up the river.  They perch and then fly short hops when I get two near, the rattling call alerting me if I'm not watching them.  I flush a yellow crowned night heron and then another.  This is, of course, why I sped past the two kayakers.  First one up the river, especially the first quiet one up the river, sees the most wildlife.
The Sneak

I turn back when I get to the jungle - two bends up from Foote Bridge.  A hawk screams from high above.  I see a hawk right at this spot more often than not when I am here.  The wind comes up in my face on the return.  I pass back the way I came.  It has been too long since I was here.

When I take out I run into T and meet his wife J.  I saw them following me out through the Sneak...It's rare to see anyone that knows of the passage.  T reminds me that we met a year ago and that I tipped him off about that secret passage.  A nice chat to finish off the day.

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