Monday, December 23, 2019

Bailey Creek

The day is warm with the temperature in the upper 40's with a light southwest of no consequence, all of it backed up with strong low winter sun.  I pause, slipping the nose of the canoe into the mouth of the Sneak.  It is a good day and a good place to write in my journal.
The Sneak at low tide

I set out from the bottom halfway through the ebb tide.  My horizon was the dry tan colored spartina that was often no more than a canoe length away.  A mature Bald Eagle was perched high on Grass Island about 200 yards south of my start.  Before the first bend of the Neck River I flushed a single male Bufflehead.  There were no other birds for a few bends until I spotted a hawk high in a tree.  It was too far off to make a good identification.  

In the next bend I flushed a dozen Buffleheads.  In the next I saw a rounded shape submerge.  It could've been mammal or duck.  I rounded that turn for the answer.  I'd seen a duck butt, it was a Hooded Merganser hen. 

A Sharp Shin Hawk crosses the Neck when I get to the mouth of Bailey Creek.

Once past the last of the eroding corduroy road and into Bailey Creek proper, I started flushing Black Ducks.  This is a favorite spot for them.  First off went some fifty, then with each bend two to six more.  Another forty or so flew over that I can't take credit for as they came from well up the creek.  By the time I turn back I've seen about 125 Black Ducks, 4 Hooded Mergansers and maybe two dozen Buffleheads.
The uppermost section of corduroy road
I turn back about 200 yards short of the actual end as the tide water is running quite shallow.

As I head back I find myself drifting off.  It is the best and most seductive of canoeing - one bend at a time, the future is what's around the next meander, the past is what's over your shoulder.  Everything is through the senses, the spartina passes by, the sun shimmers off the surface of the water and off the wet silt bank that holds it in place, the paddle dips and slices as need be without thought.

A mature Bald Eagle is hunting in the upper parts of the Neck River.

No comments: