Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice in Annisquam



I suppose it was only appropriate that just a few minutes after the winter solstice one of Old Man Winter's coolest ambassadors would be encountered upon the rocks of Annisquam.  I'd paddled up the Annisquam River from a spot near Dun Fudgin' Landing and arrived at Annisquam Lighthouse just before the solstice at 12:11 pm...
I waited until 12:12 to snap the above photo of Annisquam Light and then turned about for the return trip.  That's when I saw the Snowy Owl gazing at me from the rocks.  After fumbling with my camera and having to make a quick battery change, the owl selected a better spot to pose...
I'd never seen one before and can only wonder what his/her presence portends.  Snowy owls have been making news lately by appearing at airports in Boston and New York.

For me it sure was good to be back on the water after enduring more than a week-long preview of just how bad winter can be.  Today winter haters such as myself got a temporary reprieve and enjoyed temperatures in the low 50's.  With my local rivers partly iced-over I decided to go tidal and was glad to have paddled upon the first high tide of winter.
  
Out on the river were numerous ducks such as common eiders, loons, mergansers, and buffleheads.

One of the few boats seen today was the working boat "Francesca and Carlo"...

Lunch was enjoyed on Wingaersheek Beach where finding a spot was no problem...

This elegant piece of artwork graces a riverside dock...

Before returning to Dun Fudgin' I paddled the Jones River behind Pearce Island and then to a small cove across from Stanwood Point.  It was there that things looked the most winter-like...
Chunks of floating ice were dodged as I entered the cove, and near the cove's head I encountered what may have been a coyote...
After he disappeared into the woods, I paddled over to my takeout near Dun Fudgin' where my modest trash haul enjoyed a moment in the sun...
There were 22 recyclable containers (3 redeemable) and 30 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as Styrofoam and plastic bags.  YTD = 6280
More than half of today's trash was found amidst the wrack where I launched.

4 comments:

PenobscotPaddles said...

Love the photo of the snowy owl; it can only portend good things for the winter ahead.

David P. Simmons said...

What a wonderful experience. Thanks so much for sharing it! The only snowy owl I've seen was in a rescue situation and it looked pretty bedraggled and grey.

On your paddles, have you spotted a small duck with a wide white ring around it's neck and a blackish head? I can't seem to identify it by searching online. It was swimming out in Lobster Cove, but may be long gone now.669

Heather said...

That is so cool! Ava loved the pic! I think the only place I ever saw a snowy owl was at Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. :)

Suasco Al said...

David, Your description of the "small duck with a wide white ring around its neck and a blackish head" might fit the female common goldeneye. Just a guess.