Saturday, October 2, 2010

Assabet River - Whitman's Crossing to Rt. 62 and Back

This morning's early trash patrol covered a truly wild and scenic stretch of the Assabet River where it flows through the region once known by Native Americans as Pompocitticut.  Today the area is known as Stow, and is not officially part of the Assabet River designated as Wild and Scenic.
After a daybreak launching at the Sudbury Road bridge I paddled upstream and soon was confronted with the thick mat of floating grass and reeds pictured at left.  Passage to points further upriver would require a determined effort to push through and I did so, not knowing at the time a reward awaited me.
Further upriver, I reached a particularly enchanted spot...
Within the area pictured were 2 great egrets, 1 mute swan, 2 great blue herons, and approximately 50 ducks.  Most flew off upon my approach.  Quite a few of the ducks were wood ducks such as these...

The early rays of sun were just reaching down to the water's surface when I saw what, at first, appeared to be a large snake...
As I quietly watched the shiny black undulating movements through the grass, I realized I was looking at a group of river otters.  The otter on the right is sneaking a peek at me...
There were 4 of them and they worked as a team pushing their way through the clumps of reeds and grass.  Occasionally, one would pop up with a small fish and I could hear the crunching as breakfast was enjoyed.  I followed them a short distance to where they went ashore, and got these last photos before my camera's batteries died.  There are 2 otters up on the riverbank...





Unfortunately the pictures are on the dark side since the otters were in a shaded spot.
With my camera rendered useless, I found myself surrounded by these guys and one kept surfacing and looking at me while making a single whistle sound.  I decided to leave them to their endeavors and continued my patrol upriver to the Rt. 62 bridge in Gleasondale.
Trash today was on the light side and in a 2.5 miles stretch of river only 54 pieces of trash were recovered.
Yesterday's rainstorm had the Assabet flowing nicely once again.
Back at Whitman's Crossing, my day's catch of trash is pictured...
Today's haul consisted of 14 recyclable containers (4 redeemable) and 40 pieces of rubbish such as styrofoam cups/bait tubs/flotation, plastic bags, a 1-gallon specimen container, nip bottles,  and cardboard packaging.  YTD total stands at 5056.

Last year, I returned from a September trip to the wilds of Maine and in October encountered a young moose on the Assabet River in West Concord, MA.  This year, I returned from a September trip to the wilds of Maine and in October encountered river otters on the Assabet River in Stow, MA.  My own backyard's getting wilder all the time!

Later in the afternoon. Mrs. Trashpaddler and I pedalled the Nashua River Rail Trail from Ayer to East Pepperell and gathered up this baker's dozen of manufactured plastic trash (aka single-use containers)...
Only one of the 13 has a monetary value assigned to it per our outdated Bottle Bill.

5 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

River otters - that's amazing - haven't seen them yet in my travels.

Sandy said...

Hi Al,

Your blog is terrific. Thanks for cleaning up our streams, rivers, and lakes. I work for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and ask your permission to add a link to your blog on NFCT's website: http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org/Paddler-2/Paddler-Blogs-73. Your pictures and stories are truly inspiring.

Sandy Tarburton

Suasco Al said...

Erik, It's a fairly rare moment when river otters are seen. At least, for me, that's been the case. This encounter with them lasted for about 5 minutes and for the first minute or so, they had not detected my presence.
I added 2 more pictures that I, at first, thought were too dark.
BTW, I enjoyed your recent post on the lower Ashuelot River. Looks like a lot of fun!

Suasco Al said...

Sandy, Thanks for your kind comments and please feel free to provide a link to my blog.
I have enjoyed reading accounts of other's NFCT exploits on the organization's web site. Hopefully, we can all benefit from each others experiences out on the trail.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow Grampy! (What Ava wanted me to say after looking at the pictures of the otters) Love you!-Heather