Thursday, September 5, 2019

Low Tide on the Neck River and Bailey Creek

It was nearing low tide when we set out.  M had been here a few times before, but those trips were when the tide was up.  Low tide trips might follow the same track as high tide tours (at least until you run out of water), but the differences are enough to make it a new experience.

We headed up the Neck River.  There are several stretches of corduroy road farm trail protruding from the banks on the Ox Meadow side.  The age of these roads is hard to figure.  They are about 18-24 inches below the surface of the high marsh and I don't know how quickly the silt accumulates.  As the mosquito control trenches cut through them in a few places, I figure them to be a hundred years old or so.  Most likely built when the salt hay (spartina patens) on Ox Meadows was being harvested for cattle feed.
Corduroy Road
The fiddler crabs are putting on their usual low tide show, which, as they run away from us, looks like a bunch of tiny crabs re-enacting the D-Day Landings.  They don't have a high tide show as they tuck themselves into a hole and seal it with mud when the water rises.  Osprey are numerous, of course, this being the double Osprey time as all of the young are fledged and indistinguishable from the adults.  Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons are a common sight.  We also spot a few Willets, some Yellow Legs, a pair of Snowy Egrets, a couple Short Billed Dowitchers, a Least Sandpiper and a Dunlin.  We also get spy-hopped by a lot of turtles.

We paddle up Bailey Creek and I manage to split my paddle tip as we cross the remains of an old tide dam/bridge.  When I look I see a fragment of a mussel shell stuffed clear through the paddle blade. We continue up the creek until the water gets thin about a 1/4 mile short of the culvert that ends the explorations at any water level. 

Four Osprey and a pair of Great Egrets
On the way back we divert up the Neck River, which oddly enough is shorter than it's tributary Bailey Creek.  There's more birds and a close pass on a natural Osprey nest.  We ground out on a boulder, which gives me a cue to point out what I think is a band of ancient glacial moraine.  Of course, Long Island, about 10 miles away, is the terminal moraine of the Ice Age sheet that covered this part of New England.

Instead of taking out, we continue down and out the mouth of the river into the sound, and round the first point until we can see the mouth of the West River.  On the return we stop to explore the red shed, an open air shelter that belongs to the town of Guilford.  M immediately begins planning for an art event to take place in the shed.
View from the Red Shed

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