Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Bittern of Lord's Cove

I put out from Pilgrim's Landing with no more thought to the plan than I am tired of driving and this is a good place to start.  It is warm, humid, overcast and raining lightly with large sparse drops that feel much better on the skin than the alternative sweat. 
I head up into the farthest reaches of Lord's Cove with little to note other than that there are a good number of Great Egrets about, a few Great Blue Herons, and a couple of Osprey that fly past.  The Osprey nests are empty, the young being strong enough to be out perching in trees without being watched over by the adults.

While rounding the geographic oddity of Coute's Hole, a round pond sized opening in the marsh that can be seen in satellite photos and old maps, I notice a bent piece of driftwood.  Shore birds often look like bent pieces of driftwood and the bend on this one moves.  It is a American Bittern, a rare enough sighting to be a bit proud of.  The Bittern assumes the Bittern pose - bill tipped up towards the sky.  This lines up the buff striping on the body so that the bird blends in with the cattails and wild rice surrounding it.  I pass by on the opposite shore of the channel and it never moves.
American Bittern
I continue deeper in, paddling up into the third cove where there is a well established Eagle nest.  At different times, two immature Bald Eagles fly by and over the ridge to other places in Lord's Cove.  They both look large, well fed and healthy.  As I drift with the wind, I hear something moving in the cattails.  I sit still, paddle down, not moving.  Soon, the wind has blown me downwind of whatever is back there unseen in the cattails.  Every thirty seconds or so I pick up the sound of it moving.  Finally, it snorts several times, and it is clearly moving away towards firmer ground.  I'm pretty sure it was a deer.
wild rice

With that, I begin my return, following the east shore closely.  There is little more to add other than spotting some Osprey which seem to be more active than when I paddled in.

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