Gorgeous summer day... sunny with a slight breeze and low humidity. We threw the kayaks into the Pennsauken for a 4 hour tour. Not a lot of animals this time... but the plants and the birds were fantastic. So lush...
The catch of the day were turtles... lots and lots of big turtles. They plop into the water at the first sound oif appraoch. Gabe has sharp eyesite, so he zooms in on them with the camera. (He did get some great jump shots. Check Flickr.)
We got out on the creek again. This time we timed it for dusk to see what might be stirring.
Gabe got some great shots about mid week at dusk (to be posted soon). He came round the bend by the bridge on his way out and spotted a green heron by the lily pond berm. While shooting pix of the heron, he paused to check a setting and realized there was a deer, just below the bird munching away. Funny, how the viewfinder can blind you peripherally.
On our trip we saw goslings hiding back in the spatterdock and pickerel weed, and lots of lone geese honking and barking at us. No sign of the beaver, but we did see a funny muskrat. He was crossing the channel ahead of us and was almost to the opposite bank, when he spotted us and, like a squirrel, reversed course to swim all the way back to the opposite shore. When we glided by, he circled behind ius to recross the channel.
Maybe because its nesting season, the wildlife is pretty shy. I've been focused on the plants and how different the creek looks in spring. By summer, when the saptterdock and pickerel are fully unfurled it will be hard to see the banks. Now, I get a feel for the shapes and structure of the creek... and I can see the goslings peering out from their bugeoning jungle.
On our way out of the creek, at the lily pond berm I found 2 geese bedded down for the night with a flock of goslings crowding under their wings... fuzzy yellow bodies and tiny feet sticky out here and there. These surprises make every trip a delight... and make it hard to stop kayaking the Pompeston and get out on the bigger creeks. This is our home turf... and watching the seasons shift through the watershed is a joyous thing.
Saturday last was my first kayak outing of the season.
We got the kayaks last August, so my entire view of the creek is late summer and autumn. Tall phragamites alive with red winged blackbirds, and great blue herons flapping along the channel. We were itching to see the creek unfurl itself slowly in spring. The spatterdock and the pickerel come up slowly - green blades through the mud - then suddenly unfurl into brilliant green vase-like structures. Later, when fully blown, they will cover the flats making any kind of critter spotting tough. Now, the geese and ducks peek out from behind the greenery... pushing the goslings deeper into the jungle.
Gabe was out a week or so ago and came back with stories of goslings, hawks, a great blue heron, and a muskrat up in a tree hanging over the channel. He's been experimenting with the camera. He has such sharp eyes. Having grown up in the Pennypack watershed, he is tuned to things I'm not.
We saw the beaver back in March/April and now hear that there is a pup. We're not likely to see them during the day, but we may if we do our sunset tours.
The red winged blackbirds are starting to return. No egrets or green herons yet - that we've seen. Some cool little sand pipery things -- yellow legs and another smaller one we think is a spotted sandpiper. Three iridescent black grackles poking for bugs in the mud. We did see a couple cormorants at the mouth of the creek, riding low on the river.
The reeds and rushes are still low. The spatterdock is getting ready to bloom, the yellow lotus-like buds still a tight green fist just under the water line. The pickerel leaves are gorgeous in the sun... creating fields of translucent green curls. The minnows are churning at the waters edge as the tide goes out. The turtles plop into the water as we round the bends. But Gabe has seen a few up close, even managing to scoop a young one out of the water for a quick examination.
Wisteria is running rampant in the trees along the channel. There is a chestnut growing in with them, its tall purple panicles mixing with the paler purple chains of wisteria flowers. Not much else is blooming visibly... but the pollen... you can see it coating the water's surface and I can feel it in my throat.
The geese are all over, as always, but made that much more charming by the addition of goslings. For even though they grow up, baby geese are adorable fuzzy little creatures. We were surprised there were not more goslings and ducklings. Maybe the Pompeston is too small. Or maybe that late ice storm caused incubation problems...
As much as I want to check the Pompeston every week, we do want to get into Palmyra Cove and back up the Pennsauken as well. There are lots of things to see and every week brings a new adventure.