Monday, April 6, 2020

First Willet

With a 6 foot tide, I set out from Foote Bridge, up in the forest near the upper end of this short river.  I figure the tide to be just about peaking as the current is completely slack.  Perhaps there is another hour until the 4-1/2 mile lag catches up at this location.  The day is already near 60 degrees with sun and a light breeze.
Above Foote Bridge
I flush a pair of Great Blue Herons from the well submerged Gravel Flats.  They seem intent on staying near each other rather than staking out their own fishing territory.  When one flies off, the other follows.
Walls of the epidemic burying ground
With the leaves still down, the stone wall of the old epidemic burial ground can be seen from the river.  There was a "sick house" nearby although no sign of that remains.  It's old ground from a day when smallpox or yellow fever were the killers.  It confused me the first time I went up and looked at the wall as it was a neat almost square enclosure.  Most old walls here were farm barriers and so they run for fair distances through the woods.

Below the arch bridge, an area I call the Upper Marsh, both of the Osprey nesting platforms have a pair of Osprey.
orange jelly fish
I spot a Willet just below the Big Bends.  In past springs I've noticed that one or two Willets arrive ahead of the others.  This one looks thin as if it had a long and poorly fed migration.  Well, it's arrived and now it can go positive on the energy balance.  At that same point I notice an orange tentacled jelly fish.  I'm still 2 miles from the sea.  There are many more as I continue down river.
The Sneak in a 6 foot tide
The eddies at the railroad bridge confirm that the tide is still coming in.  I head into the Sneak, which is currently more of a water highway than secret passage.  I scope out a few of the Osprey nests that can be seen from this spot.  Single bird on the railroad nest, but pairs at the other two.  It looks like most of the mated Ospreys are here.  I don't see anymore Willets, and the count for the day ends up being just one.
Above Foote Bridge
 I continue up above Foote Bridge, high water making access into the tangle of the last 1/2 mile possible.  I run into some minor tree blockage about 200 yards short of the next bridge, which is where the water goes too shallow for a canoe at any tide or season.  It was worth the extra distance just for the fine frog that I spotted on the bank.

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