Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7: Ducktrap Harbor

One of my favorite local spots is a small town park at the tip of Howe Point, which ends at the mouth of the Ducktrap River in Lincolnville. When I was a kid, I'd come with my family to this cobble beach to pick mussels, look for crabs under the rocks, and swim in the deep waters of the river channel, jumping in and letting the tide pull me into the ocean. This was also a high school hangout, where we congregated on weekend nights, shivering as we stood around in the dark sipping cans of Bud. And it's still a place I like to come with a beach chair and a book on a free summer morning. Or this time of year, to enjoy the quiet and my memories while observing migrating waterfowl.

This morning I had the place all to myself: high tide, sun dazzling the beach, harbor dotted with ducks. I counted 54 red-breasted mergansers scattered on the harbor, as well as two green-winged teals very close to shore on the river side of the point. The green speculum on the teals' wings flashed a brilliant emerald in the morning light. A ring-billed gull squealed from the shore, as a young double-crested cormorant repeatedly dove in the river channel, bringing up small fish. A crow flew into the tree over my head, silent; two more flew low over the stones further up the beach, looking for something, anything.

View to the harbor, with Islesboro a dark line on the horizon
Sun-dazzled harbor--
ten minutes here watching ducks
sets the whole day's tone.

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