Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Snapping Turtle Day - and the First of the Willets

The marsh is alive with new songs and it is plain obvious that birds other than the Osprey are in town.  The tide is just past low and rising, so I head up the East River as my secret side routes will be closed off until more water arrives.
There are several Willets near the put-in as well as an equal number of Yellow Legs.  The Willets are arriving to set up nests, the Yellow Legs will migrate farther north within a few weeks.  As far as the Willets, it is not a full marsh population yet nor have they begun to squabble over nesting territory, so it is my guess that the first of them arrived about a week ago.  My eyes are still getting tuned to Willet spotting - on a background of silty dead grass they can be quite hard to spot unless they move.

I spot Willets every so often all the way up to the bottom of the Big Bends.  I wonder if the Big Bends might have more nests this year.

Snapping Turtle #1
Just below the Arch Bridge I spot a hawk that I can't identify.  It perches in a leaf pile up in th fork of a tree.  I will have to watch and see if this is a nest.  Two Snowy Egrets stand watch on the other side of the bridge and they let me pass without complaint. 

Between there and the Duck Hole Farms I spot two snapping turtles that have hauled themselves out of the water to soak up sun.  I give one a tap to see if it will move, but it is very lethargic and not up to operating temperature.

Snapping Turtle #2
Three Osprey are hunting up above the Gravel Flats, where I also spot two Kingfishers.  The current picks up here and grows as I near the Foote Bridge.  In fact, at Foote Bridge I find the current stronger than I've ever seen before, a combination of high water from recent rain and low tide.  Getting above the bridge took some effort and careful eddy hopping.
RedWing Blackbird
I return on a good current until I reach the Big Bends.  There the flood tide begins to work against me, and soon the wind also shifts into my face.  The Sneak is well flooded, so I cross into Bailey Creek and continue down, flushing a dozen Teal in one of the bends.

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