Friday, June 14, 2019

Ibis Spotting

I set out from the bottom a long hour before the tide peaks on a moderate onshore breeze from a sky mixed with dark collections of clouds and sun.  It should be an especially fine day.

I took my favorite route up, the Neck, Bailey Creek, and the Sneak.  And, how the marsh is alive today! I spot an extra head in one of the Osprey nests - the young are just getting brave and curious enough to look over what surrounds their homes.  The adults are perched here and there keeping an eye on things while Willets are calling out from all directions.  Sentinels, they are warning off most anything larger than a sparrow.

A Glossy Ibis sweeps by as I turn the second meander of Bailey Creek.  I've seen them here in flocks of 20 or 30, but last year went by without a single sighting and this is my first sighting of the year in this area.  It's just a matter of timing more than any other possible reason.  It is good to see the Hieronymus Bosch bird.

In shifts, the Willets pick me up and escort me through the Sneak where I suppose that I am closest to nests, but I am clearly not getting special treatment.  They are chasing everything including their own.

The Sneak at High Water
I spot 4 more Glossy Ibises from the start of the Big Bends.  They are a long way off and I identify them by their nimble flight and by discarding the other dark bird possibles...too small and fast for cormorants, too large for crows and too thin for ravens.

The wind comes up as I paddle the middle marsh.  It will be a stiff headwind on my return, but this is such a fine day that it seems only fair to earn it.  I'll walk back if I have to.  I continue up, passing the Foote Bridge to the next bend before turning back.
Near the Duck Hole Farms
When I get back to the Big Bends I spot a pair of Glossy Ibises up close.  It is a good excuse to slide into the weeds and have a cup of coffee and do my writing.  Two Ibises becomes six.  They are busy feeding in a panne, stabbing the long curved bills into the mud after tiny marsh critters.

Glossy Ibis
Below the highway bridge I spot four Canada Geese adults escorting sixteen goslings...a sign of good parenting skills.

By the time I move on, the tide has turned enough that the current is moving along quite well.  The headwind is not strong enough to cancel the current, the paddling is not hard nor easy, the bank passes by at a good rate.  I return through the Sneak route often paddling strong crab angles to compensate for the wind, and sometimes just letting the wind and current propel me. 

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