Saturday, September 15, 2018

Wheeler Marsh

S suggests a turn around the Wheeler Marsh to see the large numbers of Egrets and Night Herons that I witnessed two days ago.  I check the tide charts and try to time our put in for about 2 hours before high tide.  Not only does the Wheeler Marsh need an above mid tide level for easy paddling, but I figure that the rising tide will be moving the birds out of the large marsh and into the trees that line the east shore.
We arrive at the put-in a little early.  I tell S that we can go, but we will be shin deep in mud to get the canoe in the water.  We retreat to a local bakery for a half hour.

When we return, the water level is just right and the put-in clean and easy.  There are no birds in the trees, yet.  We paddle counter clockwise flushing a few Green Herons at first, then a Night Heron or Egret every once in awhile.

At the far upstream end of the marsh we head up the Nell's Island channel.  Some light motorboat traffic ahead of us is sure to eliminate most bird sighting possibilities, so I take is into one of the side channels.   There, we start to flush Night Herons with frequency.  It is a mix of adults and juveniles, and seems to be all Black Crowned Night Herons.  Our Channel dead ends after a quarter mile and we retreat. 
Juvenile Night Heron

When we get up to the long sand spit, Milford Point, I point out to S that there are dozens of Egrets perchd in the trees on the far side of the marsh, which is also where we started.  As we paddle that way, more and more Night Herons leave the marsh and we track them over to the trees.

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