Monday, February 6, 2023

Post Cold Snap

I put in just before high tide, starting from the hunter's launch, which is on the east side of the marsh and eliminates a mile of river paddling between here and the next possible access. It is 50F and sunny, but there is a 10 mph steady wind with gusts, just to make it interesting.

Two days ago dawn came at -4F, which is quite cold for a neighborhood with 67 billion gallons of 40 degree salt water right next to it. There is a sheet of ice in the lower end of the marsh. That area is shallow open water. I'm heading to Beaver Creek and there are a few small sheets of ice that are a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, but it is rotten and the canoe knifes through easily. I spot eight Mute Swans, most of these will have come from some inland water that froze over during the cold snap. I also spot a Harrier and Great Blue Heron before I've gotten a quarter mile. We've had no more than a half inch of snow all winter, so the spartina is still standing tall. I suspect that for the Harrier, it makes for good hunting. Harriers fly low and use stealth to approach prey.

Up in Beaver Creek, I flush about four dozen Ducks. It is a mix of Mallards, Black Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers, plus a Kingfisher and a few Common Mergansers that fly overhead. A couple Vultures are soaring overhead, probably looking for animals that died in the cold snap. I pass a dead raccoon floating in mid-creek. 

On the way out, I spot a deer, or more accurately, the ears of a deer. It is moving through the marsh midway between the creek and Cat Island. I watch the ears for a couple minutes as it wades and bounds towards the far side. I never see anything the ears.

I find a channel that crosses over to Cat Island, at high tide anyway. Then, I work my way out to the Central Phragmites Patch where I flush a Harrier. I find a dead Canada Goose along the way. I check for a leg tag, but there is none. The wind is increasing and, as nice a day as it is, I head out and call it a day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog via a post on and am enjoying it very much. I lived in Bethany, CT over 30 years ago but didn’t often paddle the local waters. We were usually lured up to the Adirondack’s, or Maine for major trips. Thanks for posting your beautiful photos and narrative. It allows me to vicariously experience some of the joy of paddling in New England.