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rick stoehrer

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launching at 6:30 sharp we headed out of greasy pole with a goal of kettle island...as we paddled out we could look over towards 10 pound island to see the distinctive shape of 2 of the outward bound pulling boats up from thompson island...we paddled over to take a look-see but it was no one i knew and so we were back on our way...we paddled out around normans woe and played in the gentle surf lapping at the rocks.

we went along the shore to kettle island and as we paddled through the narrow passage between magnolia and the island, we came across a group of 15 or so kayaks just sitting there alongside the shore of kettle...as we paddled over and greeted oz and the erba crowd, the audobon club members pointed out the many, many birds returning to roost for evening. snowy egrets, night herons, glossy ibis, little blues....all returning to roost for the evening after a busy day of hunting and fishing alons the marshes in essex and ipsswich and such...they returned in dribs and drabs and then bunches. as the sun set behind us, the birds dropped from the sky. "whiffling" their wings....teetering from left to right, allowing the air pass from beneath their wings, they plummet to the bushes and their roosts below.

the erba crew paddled off towards shore and we paddled around kettle island amazed and in wonder of the vast number of beautiful birds dropping onto the island for the night; and by this time, it was night, the sun about fully down leaving only the pink tafetta of the high clouds above. it was a lovely sight to see these birds dropping (landing simply doesn't describe their flight pattern well enough, they dropped like stones when they wanted to...only stopping at the very last moment before crashing...it was something to see, this "whiffling") out of the pink sky into the green brush on the rocky island.h

we meandered our way back along shore and laid up by normans woe to watch the moon rise. at 9 the huge orange disc slowly rose along the dark horizon and behind the darker silhouette of a schooner in the distance.

as we paddled back into the harbor, we were aglow in the occasional flash of phospheresence as we passed through agitated plankton blinking their displeasure at being so rudely disrupted.

it was a very nice evening.

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