Rowing the Connecticut

Summer is a wonderful time on the river, in part because the lengthy days allow me ample time to get out rowing.  I like to row well before breakfast, because the river is as still as glass and there are rarely any other boats.  Today, three days after returning from our canoe trip on the upper reaches of the river, I was treated to an unusual abundance of bird life.

As I headed upstream, I noticed a large flock of Canada Geese in the cove across the river – we don’t call it “goose bay” for nothing. Then, a Bald Eagle circled low over my head, landing on the Vermont shore to inspect something interesting. Exciting! we rarely see Bald Eagles in this section of the river. Passing another little cove, where I often see a duck catching the morning sun, I saw instead a Great Blue Heron exploring the shallows. As I neared my turnaround point, I was startled by a quack right behind me (in the path of my rowing shell).  I turned to watch a duck attempting (but failing) to take off; suspicious I scanned the neighborhood and saw her duckling paddling for safety in the opposite direction. Ah, the old “look at me, I’m injured, pay no attention to my duckling” trick.

On the return trip downriver, the Bald Eagle was perched on shore where I left it, but as I approached she took off and circled low over the geese, who grumbled and mumbled in warning. That commotion triggered a pair of Great Blue Herons to lift off from the cove behind the geese, one heading for shore and the other to keep watch from a tree.

I have no photos, of course, as it is impossible to hold anything while rowing. But, just last week, I tried out my new toy – a GoPro Hero3 (white edition) camera – by attaching it to my shell. I made two short videos, one on a foggy morning and one on a sunny morning. They’re fun – I sped up by 20x to make a 20-minute row into a 3-minute movie – but I still hope to capture one of those magical early-summer mornings where the air is clear and the sun is rising and the few clouds are tinged with pink and reflecting off the glassy river. Next summer, perhaps.

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