Saturday, September 29, 2018

Autumn Light

I told S that I would be putting in at Foote Bridge and probably wading a bunch until I got down past the Gravel Flats.  But, lower tides are usually good for animal sightings, so I don't mind the wet feet.  It's a bit of surprise to find the river high and running fast when I put in.  We had several inches of rain on Tuesday and another day of rain on Thursday.  The East River drainage is clearly catching a lot of runoff.  I set out and find a swift run with dry feet.
To add to that change in conditions, there are almost no birds.  When I get to the end of the Gravel Flats (about 10 minutes), I have heard one Kingfisher and spotted one Osprey.  Contrast that to  earlier in the month when I would have seen 15 or 20 birds in that same stretch.
Yellow Legs
I spot two more Osprey in the middle marsh.  I start spotting Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons in this area as well.  Of the latter two, it is about the same number as I expect during summer. 
It is a spectacular day with temperatures in the upper 60's and a light wind coming down the river.  The tide is rising by the time I start but the tidal current is weak.  I make my way down the East River to the confluence with the Neck adding quite a few Great Egret sightings plus a few Snowy Egrets.  I suspect that most of the Snowy's are on the move south.  Of note, I have seen no Green Herons or Night Herons.
The Sneak
My unplanned timing has worked out well enough that I can return through the Sneak.  So, I head up the Neck, up Bailey Creek and into the unusually brushy Sneak.  With the tide only half way up, I expect it to be narrow, but it also seems that the tall spartina is encroaching on the channel.  This may be due to the heavy rains adding to the normal tidal runoff.  I've observed that there is a glacial flow to the spartina.  Looking at older maps shows that the channels are remarkably stable in path and width.  But, old main made items such as farmer corduroy road have been pushed down and probably out toward to the river bank.  I think that the silt builds up on the marsh surface and pushes it down and out.  The banks often show crevasses at the top of the banks, just as glaciers do.
The rest of the return is uneventful unless one wants to count a beautiful day with low fall light that kaleidoscopes the surrounding forest.

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