Sunday, September 8, 2019

Outmarveling the Marvel that Outmarveled the First Marvel.

I set out from the state boat launch under the big highway bridge and headed downstream on a fairly swift current that owed some of its speed to the falling tide.  I planned to circle Wheeler Marsh as far as possible before the dropping water level blocked me, but as it unexpectedly turned out, the water was still at a good level.  It wouldn't allow for much time to explore the many dead ends, but the trip around would not be a problem.
It is a quiet day for birds.  I had hoped to see more, but until I get to the inner corner of the marsh, it is just three Great Egrets, a Great Blue Heron and a couple Osprey.  In the inner corner I start scaring up juvenile Night Herons.  I end up flushing eight out of the tall spartina.  I can't tell whether they are Yellow-Crowned or Black-Crowned as the juveniles are too similar for me to discern when they are flying.

Heading for the channel on the inside of Nell's Island, I figure that I've missed it and am in one of the side channels that goes to mud at low tide.  But, after a couple turns in the spartina hallway I find that I am exactly where I wanted to be.
Northern Harrier
So, I edge up against the spartina to write in my journal.  I am marveling at the two identical vintage Pepsi bottles that I found about 500 yards apart when a owl-headed Northern Harrier appears, outmarveling the pop bottles.  The Harrier is on the hunt and is skimming and floating low over the spartina, its hunting method one of stealth - coming up on its prey before the prey can react. 
Immature Clapper Rail
Then,   I pause and look up and outmarveling the marvel that outmarveled the two pop boottles, is an immature Clapper Rail watching me from no more than 25 feet.  I very very slowly bring my camera up and manage to get some video and a few photos as it walks in front of me and back into the spartina.   Fairly secretive birds, this is only the second time that I've seen a Rail.

No more is needed.  I head back upriver.

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