There are several osprey nests in a mile’s radius of Jubilee Farm, most easily seen by kayak. Sometimes there are fish in their talons, always aligned head to toe, streamlined with the osprey’s flight to minimize wind friction. The osprey will suddenly splash onto the creek, flutter, beat their wings rapidly and take off horizontally, scraping the water with their catch until they gain elevation. When you’re clearing the spring gardens and suddenly think you’ve heard an airborne mouse, look up and it’s usually the osprey with her fish, heading home to her little ones with some self-indulgent publicity.
Several American bald eagles nests now line the upper creek, near the headwaters where beavers have also proliferated in recent years. Three or four homes popped up last year when it was a very wet spring with full spicket water spouts pouring into the creek for weeks. I like the puddling sounds at this upper reach of the creek. The head water grasses are home to wintering mallards and red-winged black birds that flit through the rushes as the kayaks glide imperceptibly upwards in quiet, shallow waters. The reeds increase in size suddenly to rival the outsized dimensions little Alice must have encountered in Wonderland. It’s narrow in these headwater channels and being small makes the eyes, ears and nose shrewder as voices diminish. I never pass through these uncharted wetlands without thinking of Lewis and Clark and the wonder of frontier exploration.