"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the Mole, shyly... "Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." …from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
Springtime brings certain annual delights to a river lover. The return of the ospreys, the mating ritual of the bald eagles, a river surface that is no longer frozen or even ice cold, green grass and flower buds on trees, and clear warm days.
There are always unexpected sights and sounds when one quietly paddles along a riverbank. I rounded a bend in Dyer Creek one day and found myself between eleven herons at rivers edge on both sides of the creek, only yards away from me. They flew away one by one, until there was only myself and the one I called Braveheart, because he stayed until I could almost touch him. I don’t expect to ever see that again, but there are surely equally fascinating discoveries to make on future paddles.
Every spring, I look forward to gathering fifteen or twenty river lovers and paddling together up one of the many tributaries of the SassafrasRiver. We can expect to view many great blue herons building nests to house their chicks which will be arriving soon. Ospreys are in the construction phase of their family summer retreats on constructed platforms or channel markers. Bald eagles are everywhere around the river this time of year, and the yellow perch, white perch, and rock fish are spawning.
These thoughts are simply my way of announcing the next SRA spring paddle, on Saturday, April 30. We usually call the spring paddle our heron rookery paddle, and this one will surely fit that description. We plan to leave from the mouth of Swantown Creek, paddle up the creek to view two of SRA’s current river restoration projects, and then paddle across the Sassafras to Hen Island and see the large heron rookery there.
SRA was lucky to have Mr. Eric Ayers on a couple of our paddles, and he produced a video of each. I’d like to share them with you now so you can take a few minutes to get the feeling of paddling on the beautiful Sassafras River. They will appear back to back, beginning with this one: http://youtu.be/sjhwAaUxlu0
If you are interested in joining us on the 30th, please see the official notice elsewhere in this edition of Shorelines.
I’ll see you on the river,
Capt. Emmett Duke