Saturday, June 20, 2009
Paddling up the Connecticut and Mattabessett
The Jonah Center sponsored river paddle launched from Harbor Park Saturday morning despite the dire warnings of later-in-the-day thunderstorms (which as of this writing have not yet arrived).
About twenty brave souls who know enough not to trust a weatherman or woman, canoed and kayaked North to Wilcox Island where Kate Miller, a local naturalist and a member of the Conservation Commission, talked about the island and the bird species which call it home. The shriek of a pair of peregrine falcons affirmed her statements.
From Wilcox Island the boaters headed to the mouth of the Mattabessett and once they floated under the highway and railroad bridges, it appeared that the small regatta had left civilization behind. If it wasn't for the occasional floating plastic bottle, one could imagine floating in uncharted territory.
The vast watershed North of Middletown's center city is teeming with aquatic and avian life. We saw egrets, herons, kingbirds, red wing blackbirds and osprey. Miller also explained that the estuary is home to all kinds of fish and shellfish.
With black clouds mounting, John Hall, of the Jonah Center, suggested an early departure from the river, and the boats, laden with river garbage and detritus, headed back to Harbor Park.