Friday, July 20, 2018

Bird Check

It's a low tide when I set out from the Foote Bridge and as expected I have to wade the first little bend, a short 25 foot ankle deep walk.  Farther down I drift over the Gravel Flats with several inches to spare.  After that I have plenty of water.  
The Power Pole Nest - 2 young and an adult
There are 8 or 10 Osprey in the forest section of the river either whistling out at my arrival, changing perches, or circling overhead.  After passing under the Stone Arch Bridge I find 8 circling high overhead although some of the 8 and some of the previous 8 or 10 are one in the same.

Just above the Big Bends are three Snowy Egrets, one of which is larger than the other two.  At first I think that the smaller might be immature Little Blue Herons, but finally I see the yellow in their feet.  I think they might be first year Snowys.  The larger one chases the other two off.  It's an unusual aggressive action for an Egret.

Oyster Catcher
In the lower marsh the young Opsreys are still on the nest and not yet flying although they are much bolder than they have been.  Today, they stand up high on the nest as I pass near.  Even when the adults leave the nest they stay up.  They look to be about 3/4 full size.

In the second bend below Cedar Island I spot a Hawk taking low swoops at a Gull in mid channel.  Only then do I realize that I have not seen or heard any Willets... Hawks don't come around when Willets are in the area as the Willets won't let them hunt in peace.  A couple hundred yards further on I do hear a Willet, unseen behind a wall of tall spartina.  I spot another a hundred yards up and after turning at the boat ramp and heading back up I spot just three more...a total of five Willets.  On my last trip I would've spotted five before launching the canoe...heck, I would've spotted five getting out of the car.

Glossy Ibis
Two bends before the RR bridge I spot a flock of larger birds quite high and fling in a swirling formation...Glossy Ibis.  I count 22.  I write a note of it and when I look up they are gone...I look around as if expecting them to sneak up and shit on me, but they have dropped down into the marsh at some suitable feeding zone.

Snowy Egret in the Gravel Flats
My timing on the tide has been off.  I arrive at the Gravel Flats with far less water than on the way down.  It is longer wade.  It is a good day to wade.  It is a good day to be here.

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