Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sudbury River - Rt. 62 to Pantry Brook & Back


Since the "2009 Good Weather Farewell Tour" was held over for another day by popular demand, I had to get in one more trash patrol of the Sudbury River from Route 62 to Pantry Brook and back. It most likely will be the last time this season that Fairhaven Bay will be crossable by kayak. The shallow areas are iced over already and with another stretch of cold weather scheduled to arrive tomorrow it won't be long before the bay is frozen all the way across.
My patrol up to Fairhaven was pleasant. Temperatures were in the low 40's and there was almost no wind. Trash was recovered along the way with most being found under the MBTA commuter rail bridge. A solitary bufflehead duck was seen a little ways upstream of said bridge both on the way upriver and on the way back down.
I had planned to stop for lunch at Brooke Island but 40 feet of ice between me and the beach, changed my mind. Instead, I stopped at Lee's Bridge Landing and enjoyed a sandwich with my hot cocoa...

Continuing upriver, I encountered this small hawk at the outlet from Farrar Pond...

He allowed me to get fairly close from two different angles before he finally took flight. My guess is that he's an immature sharp-shinned hawk but it is only a guess and an uneducated one at that.
Also seen today were several groups of wood ducks, mergansers, and mallards, as well as numerous Canada geese and a pair of red-tailed hawks in Fairhaven Bay.
Upon reaching the mouth of Pantry Brook, I found about 30 feet of ice between the barrier and my boat. As I snapped this photo, I noticed a beaver swimming just beyond the sheet of ice...

Apparently, the beaver was not aware of my presence and swam under the sheet of ice towards his lodge. He surfaced about 2 feet from my cockpit and, needless to say, we both were equally startled! He then swam across the river twice before giving an emphatic tail-slap to the water's surface. I took his hint and departed from the area.
The trip downriver was quite enjoyable for mid-December. After a very brief sprinkle of rain, the sun actually started to break though the cloud cover. Near Heaths Bridge another kayaker was encountered heading in the opposite direction. I believe it was Lisa H. getting in some distance training perhaps. She was the only other person seen on the river today.
At my takeout location, the day's catch posed alongside my boat's hull...

They numbered 24 and were made up of 15 recyclables (13 redeemable) and 9 pieces of misc. rubbish such as styrofoam, plastic bags, spray-paint cans, etc. My YTD total stands at 5559.

3 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

The way things are going, we may be able to paddle all winter - lets hope. Always enjoy your posts.

Erik

Anonymous said...

As a general rule there are two small hawks in our area, Coopers and Sharpshin. A Sharpshins tail is square and the Coopers is rounded. This is a calssic birding identification problem.

Suasco Al said...

Anonymous, Good point! After consulting both the Peterson and Audubon field guides, I'm less sure of which one it is.
It was about the size of a crow and the bottom band on the tail was white. The tip of the tail seemed to be in between "square" and "rounded" (even using binoculars).
The Cornell Lab web site recommends referring to such hawks as "Accipiter sp." when not sure whether it is a Coopers or Sharp-shinned.