Saturday, December 14, 2019

12/11/2019 Almost Had a Snow Paddle

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm taking a mini-vacation this week to take advantage of a few days that looked likely to be good paddling weather. Wednesday and Thursday were both great, I got in 15.5 miles on Wednesday and 12.5 on Thursday - both days it was just so nice out I went further than planned. This leaves me with 4.5 to go for my 300 miles, and (knock wood, weather permitting, it's always at the will of the weather, especially this time of year) I'm very likely to get that in tomorrow when a friend invited me to join him as a Jamaica Bay boat team for the Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count. This is a very interesting event that dates back to 1900 - click here for the history. I've heard of it but never actually participated - should be pretty interesting! I'm not a great birder but I know the usual winter bay birds. It's going to rain on us but it is at least going to be warm.

It wasn't warm on Wednesday or Thursday. Wednesday I was really really really hoping for a snow paddle, it was in the forecast in the morning. Unfortunately, it wasn't snowing actively when I woke up, and in fact it looked like it was just drizzling. My plan to be on the water by 10 started to slide - I still planned to go, I just wasn't as inspired to get myself out there and since this one was gonna be a solo there wasn't any particular impetus. Of course then I looked out the window half an hour later and it was snowing. WOOHOO SNOW PADDLE! So I scrambled to eat breakfast and get my cider heated up and get out the door, only to have it stop again a few minutes before I left. Bummer. But at that point I was outbound so I ran with it and was rewarded with a paddle featuring a highly scenic dusting of snow (which melted completely by the afternoon and didn't hang out and get dirty) all along the shore of the bay.

I'd planned a shoreline paddle as winds were forecast to kick up in the mid to late afternoon. I'd thought Fresh Creek, the next basin to the east of the Paerdegat, and one where a lot of shoreline restoration has been done, would be pretty in the snow. My original plan was to go there, come back out, paddle the shoreline back to the west and then south to the inlet, then return to the Paerdegat for 12 miles, but I've been curious about Hendrix Creek, the next to the east after Fresh Creek, since paddling past it on my Howard Beach paddle and not being able to remember if I'd ever gone up there, so I added that on.

It's not as nice as Fresh Creek, there's a wastewater treatment plant on one side and a shopping mall on the other, but I satisfied my curiousity and there were lots of birds in there. The entrance runs through the the new Shirley Chisholm State Park, so there is a nicer bit before it gets to the industrial and retail section, and there was a kingfisher in that area, and then I don't think I'd seen ruddy ducks on Jamaica Bay before but I'm pretty sure there were a bunch in the creek. Hopefully some bird counters will be taking advantage of the park being open and will get those tomorrow!

I went to Fresh Creek next (more nice birds, including a kingfisher and a great blue heron), then on down to the inlet as originally planned. It was an interesting day, the mood out there changed a lot while I was out there, as you can see from my photos. Nice day out there even if I didn't get to paddle in the snow.

All photos after this, click on any one for a slideshow view. 


songbird's crazy world said...

Very pretty

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I went to Google Maps to see all the places you were talking about. I'm so envious that you have these places to paddle. But so stoked that you share them with us! Gorgeous pictures!