Monday, July 29, 2019

The Gag the Expert Movement

I put in by 7:30 with an hour and a half to go before high tide.  It will be a warm and sunny day, but the morning is still cool enough and the low sun throws shade across the edges of the broad marsh.

Our climate change crisis came to mind today.  When we moved here, we looked at a house that is on the edge of this marsh.  It needed more work than we wanted to do.  But more importantly, I'm glad we didn't opt for it as it is only about 15 ft above sea level.  It's not that it is likely to be flooded, even from a hurricane (the storm surge for Sandy was about 8 ft), but it sure could lose land through storm erosion.  It's just something you shouldn't have to worry about unless you are rich as heck or don't have a choice.
Anyway, what I really was thinking about was the "gag the expert" movement.  Having experienced it in my former career as an engineer, I know that it's not just a political phenomena.  In fact, there's probably a research paper to explore...might be related to the MBA craze of the 1980's-90's... (never understood the value of a MBA except to leap frog a bunch of hard and valuable work experience).  It's a simple idea used by people who are, simpletons who oversimplify complicated issues.  Because if they can't understand it, no one can.  It caused the second Iraq War, the Afghanistan Mire, the 737-Max, and all of the stuff I was doing when I quit my engineering job.  It works like this -  someone, probably an expert at what they do, comes to the boss and tells them something they don't want to hear.  So, they ignore it or end run the expert or find some other way to make it go away.  In industry, the idea seemed to be to push the problem aside just long enough to get promoted, leaving the problem for the next person to take the job.  Of course, with climate the problem isn't some short term thing that can be fixed next year. In fact, the problem just gets worse at an increasing rate. It's all pretty depressing.
Well, I never promised that this would be all birds and flowers and happy thoughts.  Enough.

The high tide mark in the grass is above my shoulders as I kneel in the canoe.  It's not that much in height for a tide, but when you think of how broad this marsh is and what the volume of water that comes in and out twice a day, well that can be mind boggling.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron
I head upriver towards Beaver Creek.  Right away I spot six Night Herons standing in the spartina on the far side of the channel.  I think that they are all the Yellow-Crowned species although I don't take the time to scope each out.  About halfway to Beaver Creek I cross the flood edge - I've been paddling with the current and suddenly the resistance on the paddle drops off.  The flood tide enters the marsh through paths of least resistance, so in some channels it enters from both ends. 

Black Crowned Night Heron
Beaver Creek is quiet and shaded and fairly loaded with Black Crowned and Yellow Crowned Night Herons.  It's anecdotal, but Yellow Crowns seem to outnumber the Black Crowns, and while both overlap totally in territory, I spot Black Crowns more in the areas with trees and Yellow Crowns more out in the spartina.

I exit Beaver Creek and paddle counter clockwise around the marsh, taking a high tide cutoff through the spartina to the Nell's Island Channel.  The tide is within a foot of the high mark and I'm seeing fewer shore birds.  Either they are moving to higher spots away from the open channels or they are just moving off until fishing is better.

I end up with about 30 Night Heron sightings.  Swans, Egrets, Cormorants and Osprey don't get counted, but they are all there.

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