Monday, March 19, 2018

In the Mattabasett

My head is up inside the canoe, the edge of the seat resting on the back of my shoulders, it is a standing upright buried headfirst sort of feeling.  A bird shadow sweeps past my feet just before I reach the water and begin to roll the canoe down my thigh to ground.  I watch an immature Bald Eagle fly away down the center of the narrow forested river.
I head upstream with the intention of going a bit higher than I have gone before.  In the past I've always turned back at a small logjam where, for one reason or another, I've not had the gumption to portage.  The current is faster than expected, probably a combination of some spring high water and the low tide (this is fresh water 30 miles from the sea, but still tidal).  Of more note is the amount of new deadfall in the river.  Three nor'easters have come through in short succession and the combination of wind and heavy wet snow has brought down numerous weak trees.  Fortunately, the river is about as wide as the tallest of trees and I can push through the branches in the few places where a tree has fallen bank-to-bank.

It is a cool day, the temperature still in the 30's and with a light but chilling wind coming down river my eyes water.  Instead of wiping the tears away, I leave them running down my cheek.  There is something pleasant about the contrast between those wind chilled tears and the warmth of my face.  It is a cold day.
These 2 were expected.  They nest here every year.
I wade one gravel bar, I portage the rocks under the defunct railroad trestle.  Otherwise, I stay in the canoe.  The current turns me back at the highway bridge and I do not argue.

With plenty of time, I pass my put-in and continue down to the Eagle nest.  I observe for about 10 minutes from various locations but I see no Eagles in or near the nest.  It looks like this site is not in use.  With that I turn and return.

Besides the Eagle, I have spotted a half dozen Great Blue Herons, 1 Hawk, a Kingfisher, a few Wood Ducks, a pair of Mute Swans, a Woodpecker and a Blue Jay.

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