Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wild Ricing

My first plan for the day was to go play in the easy rapids on a section of the Housatonic.  But last night it occurred to me that the wild rice was out and so I asked M if she would rather go out to the Connecticut River and check out the crop.

We put in at Pilgrim Landing, the normal start for a trip up into Lords Cove.  Parts of the cove are undergoing restoration - removal of invasive non-native plants and the changes are becoming more obvious.  The cove is on my list as a place to return to regularly to track on how the restoration is affecting things.
 It is calm with a a bit of very fine mist in the air.  Because of that we go out and head up the main channel until we can re-enter the cove via Goose Bay.  With the tide still up we can cross the shallow bay directly.  Already there are many more Egrets than normal.  Autumn can bring out Egrets and Herons in large numbers as they bulk up and prepare for migrations.

Taking the longer side channel up to Coultes Hole, a weird circular "pond" feature in the marsh that defies logic, we flush a couple dozen Great Egrets, several Great Blue Herons, and watch a dozen or so Common Terns actively fishing...all in the same 100 yard section.   The first Osprey show up on the bend by the old camp, with several more Egrets perched up in the trees.  From there we head back to the Eagle nest, which is  unoccupied at this moment.  But, we flush more Egrets and a Green Heron along the way.  I figure we're at about 35 Egret sightings, so far.

We come out of that section of cove and head over to the wooden bridge.  There's a large number of small dead fish - a fish kill of undetermined reason although this section of water might be prone to a toxic algae bloom as it doesn't get full exchanges of water.  Aside from that, there is quite a bit of wild rice and we take 15 minutes to collect a few cupfuls, so that we can go home and see if we can figure out how to process it.

Wild Rice
We begin working our way out and soon it begins to sprinkle.  Then it begins to rain lightly.  Then, it begins to rain heavily.  But, we flush a large Bald Eagle as we work our way along the forested shoreline.

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