Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Observations Day 2

I set out on the Lieutenant River heading upstream at the peak of a very high tide with a following wind.  It is again, a sunny day in the 50's with only a slightly stronger wind than yesterday.
I've seen Eagles farther up in the river, and there is a possible nest that seems a bit small, but I've never seen the nest directly associated with any of the Eagle sightings.  Right way I spot large birds in the air - Turkey Vultures.  There's at least six and possibly ten soaring near the river. 

When I get up to Boulder Swamp, which also forms a large pond at a bend in the river, an Eagle flies past and takes a perch in one of the trees on the west hillside.  There is a Red Tailed Hawk there as well and the Eagle vocalizes its disapproval.

Next, I head up the river into the forest to check on the beaver dam.  I pass the earlier mentioned nest but see no sign of life. There is a good deal of beaver activity, quite a few downed trees and several that are being worked on.  Chicken wire on some of the trees show that the neighbors are letting the beaver be while protecting some of the larger trees.  The best way to control beaver is to fool them into "behaving".   Anyway, the dam is in fine shape.  High water is topping the dam, but it is not breached.

On my way out I spot the head of an Eagle in the nest.  It is deep down, no wonder I missed it on the way up.  It appears to be tending eggs...not moving, just watching.  The mate is in a nearby tree and flies off as I pass.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Mission

I had purpose today.  I put in at Pilgrim's Landing and headed up river into Lords Cove.  Cold weather, work, and travel have kept me off of the water for too long.  But, this day comes with sun and temperatures near 50F with wind that is not particularly bothersome.  I don my drysuit only because the water has a good deal of catching up to do with the air.
I occasionally flush a duck or a few Canada Geese.  It's Buffleheads, one or two Hooded Mergansers, some Blacks, and a couple of Common Mergansers.  Quiet.  There's a few hawks around, perhaps Broadwings, but I don't take time to identify them...hawks is close enough for today's mission.
My mission is the Eagle nest in the second large cove above the put in.  It is well hidden for something that is in plain sight.  I noticed it last year.  I've watched it since then.  The female is quite large, the females generally being bigger than the males.  These are especially good parents.  It is normal for one chick to fledge and excellent if two survive.  Last year, three chicks flew away from this nest.
I spot an Eagle from several hundred yards, the white head a spot of brilliance out of place in the top of the evergreen.  This is the time of year when Eagles lay eggs, and it does look like this one is tending.  It sits low in the nest and stays put for the ten minutes that I watch.  The mate is nowhere to be seen...likely out hunting for food until it is time to trade places.

Monday, February 19, 2018

My Town

I portage the 200 yards from the house, down the hill, down the seawall, and into the salt water.  It's a trip I do less often than when we first moved to this town.  But, it is worthwhile, particularly in the winter when no other boats are around other than the oyster fleet. 

I cut through or around the groins, the man-made rock wing dams that were intended to limit erosion or to hold beach sand in place.  Milford touts its miles of beaches.  I think more of its dozens of groins.  We have 8 or 10 in our neighborhood...whatever the original plan was, they certainly didn't keep any sand in place.  Our shore is all cobbles and boulders.

All of the winter neighbors are about.  Brandts swim right at the waters edge picking at things growing in rocky shallows.  Long Tail Ducks are farther out, although not as far as usual.  They dive long and deep feeding off the bottom.  The males call out nonstop - and with the calm air I can hear a great many more than I can see.
The Harbor
I paddle into our small harbor.  I figure it would've been an excellent protected anchorage for 18th century sailing ships, but too small for the larger vessels of the steam era.  It is now a mix of work and pleasure craft.  It is always quiet in winter.  When we first moved here most of my canoe trips started in the harbor.
The clouds meet me at the harbor entrance.  Rain is predicted for the afternoon, but it I don't sense it coming, yet.

I turn and return home under grey skies.  I portage up the seawall, then 200 yards to home.  I am happy to live here.

Friday, February 16, 2018


I put in at the Foote Bridge, near the upper end of the canoeable section of the river after finding the road leading to the launch site at the sea flooded with the unusually high tide.  Even as I set out I decided not to paddle the full length knowing well enough that the ebb current would be a tough grind on the way back.  Instead, I used the very high water to explore the inlets and seldom flooded areas on the side of the main river.

It was calm and near 50 degrees.  I was thinking about how peaceful it was when a few Canada Geese disturbed it all honking their complaint about my presence.  I rethought that idea, and returned to the reality that it was quite peaceful - geese might be noisy, but they do not disturb the peace.

Other than a dozen Canada Geese, I spotted about the same number of Black Ducks, and one medium sized but unidentified hawk.

The wind came up just as I ended the trip.  A drop of 30 degrees and snow is in the forecast.