Thursday, November 21, 2019

Low Tide East River Day

It is windier than I expected, somewhere in the 10 mph range, but according to the weather service this is the calm day of the week and so it goes.  According to myself, this is also the sunniest day in the last week.  I head out with a light chop on the water, the result of the ebb current going opposite to the wind.
The west bank has been exposed to the sun for several hours and it is now populated with fiddler crabs.  While the air temperature is about 40F, I suspect that down in that inch of air where the fiddlers live the sun on the dark silt has raised the local temperature to maybe 60F or 65F.  It won't be long until they stay burrowed all day.
Fiddler Crab
A Hawk circles low near Cedar Island.  I don't get a good enough look to ID it, but I suspect it is a Harrier.  But, without a better look it remains just Hawk.  The bird of the day right now is the Yellow Legs.  There aren't more than a few sighted as I head upriver, but they are content to let me pass and then get back to picking the mud at the water's edge.

At the bottom of the Big Bends I flush a large Hawk from the trees on the outside of the bend.  It gives me a good enough look that I can ID it as a wintering Rough Legged Hawk.  The dark patches on the bottom of the wing leading edge were quite obvious, even if I didn't get a photo.

I pause for coffee in the Big Bends.  It's been an hour against the current, but more to the point I have found a small spot near the bank where the canoe does not drift.  There are a good many raccoon tracks in the silt.  Some are fresh from after the tide started dropping but there are many more older tracks that have had the tide wash over and fill them.
I turn from above the Arch Bridge on a line between Duck Hole Farms and the smallpox graveyard.  The water is getting shallow enough that my paddle is touching bottom on most strokes.

The return is unremarkable except that it is an easy cruise with the current and wind, and with the wind dropping the lower marsh is particularly calm and peaceful and a sense of solitude washes over my soul.

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