Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Almost Osprey Time

I put in near the sea and head up and through the salt marsh with the intention of noting the birds that have arrived while I was away.  The lower marsh is still and I only spot a half dozen buffleheads and a pair of common mergansers...not much of a count for a mile of river.  It is time for the osprey to start returning, but there are none in sight.

It is an easy paddle.  Low tide is still approaching but, today it will be a high low tide and a low high tide..the short difference making for tidal currents that are of little consequence.  There is a breeze off of the sea, but that too is of no bother.  In fact, rather than being chilly, it seems to bring some warmth and softness to the day.

I flush six hooded mergansers, all paired, at the first of the big bends.  As I near the last of the big bends, fifteen Canada geese fly noisily off with the sixteenth chasing from a hundred yards behind.  In addition, there are a good number of killdeer scattered along the shore, one in sight more often than not.  The quantity says migration to me.  I never see that many during the summer.

Halfway between the big bend and the arch bridge a whistle catches my ear and overhead I spot an osprey with a what appears to be a damaged leg.  It comes back into view just above the arch bridge, and then, at the first turn after, a second osprey flies by with an unidentified hawk seemingly flying escort.  I doubt that they are nesting here, more likely on the way through.  But, if the bent leg osprey stays around it will be easy to identify (if it is a bent leg, of course).

The river runs thin as I get to the Duck Hole Farms.  I turn back knowing that to continue involves a bit of casual wading and picking my way through shallows.