Friday, March 14, 2008

A Spring Patrol to Pantry Brook

Yesterday afternoon's trash patrol from the lower Sudbury River to Pantry Brook really had the feel of springtime. It was sort of like seeing spring's opening act where different actors make their appearances on cue. Red winged blackbirds were all over the place, busy establishing their territory. Approaching Fairhaven Bay, a blue heron flew overhead, then once in the bay, the same large gang of common mergansers were scattered about in smaller groups. Perhaps they had split up for group exercises? The mergansers would take flight as soon as I was within about 100 yards. At the entrance to the bay there was a large red tailed hawk and leaving the bay there was a large broad winged hawk.

Upstream of Lee's Bridge (Rt. 117), it was huge numbers of Canada geese on the water, on the shore, and in chevron flight in the sky (heading north). Muskrats were busy munching while sitting on any remaining pieces of ice.

Reaching the mouth of Pantry Brook, it was nice to see the flood conditions allowing easy access to the impoundment behind the small dam structure there. Passing over the submerged steel barrier, I noted the staff guage read 7.45 . Sitting there with the whole impoundment speading out before my kayak, I felt priviledged for it is not often that such easy access is available to this area. Using my binoculars, I watched what I believe were buffleheads with large white flags on the sides of their heads. Occasionally they would dive below the surface. Of course there were other types of ducks on both sides of the impoundment and in the sky overhead. It was a very happening place 'duckwise'.

Heading back downriver, after passing a beaver that gave me a tail slap, I stopped to work on a stuck sleeve zipper. While attending the zipper, I was aware of nearly continuous tail slapping. finally turning around to see that I was only 25 yards from the beaver's lodge. Most likely, there are little beavers in the lodge and that had the parent beaver very concerned with my presence.

A half mile above Lee's Bridge, a large oak tree rising out of the flood had a snoozing raccoon wedged into a crook about 30 feet above the water. I envied the view he had from his bedroom!

The sound of rushing water could be heard entering the river from Farrar Pond. Also the little brook just upstream of Martha's Point was flowing pretty well. And the air, did I mention it actually felt warm?

Trash was fairly typical. Beer cans, Dunkin Donuts styrofoam cups, a couple of glass bottles and some plastic water and juice bottles. Two unusual items were a full quart container of diesel fuel additive (seal still intact) and a full can of marking spray paint. These two items were downstream of the Lee's Bridge construction zone and probably came from the ongoing work activity. Ended up with 24 empty containers. YTD = 466

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