Sunday, July 29, 2018 found us paddling a new (for us) kayaking destination: Wetipquin Creek. Southwest of Salisbury, Maryland, Wetipquin Creek meanders through marshland and hardwood forests before flowing into the Nanticoke River near Fishing Bay. Wetipquin Park features a nice launch area including a helpful sign pointing out the distances to more paddle launch sites on the lower Nanticoke. Wetipquin Creek is part of the Paddle the Nanticoke River Trail.
Turning upstream (right) out of the boat ramp one kayaks under the Wetipquin Bridge and immediately comes to a fork. Wetipquin Creek is on the left and Tysakin Creek flows to the right. We left the investigation of Tysakin Creek for another day.
The first 1.3 miles of the creek featured a broad meandering marshland with hardwoods quite a ways in the distance. Numerous great blue herons quickly flew away when we approached, but an industrious laughing gull, who was trying to dismember and eat a crab, allowed us to paddle close.
Within a mile the hardwoods and pines come closer to the water’s edge and we immediately thought “eagle country”. As if on cue, two bald eagles flew out of a dead tree and disappeared into the distance. Further up the creek we spotted eagle nests at two different points. Our to do list includes a spring return to see if they are being occupied by nesting pairs.
Approximately two miles upstream one passes Long Hill House which was built in 1767 and is unique for being unaltered. Long Hill House is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The tide was low throughout our paddle, but Wetipquin features a deep channel for its entire length. Even at low tide plenty of water exists to paddle upstream, and the tidal flow is minimal allowing one to paddle against the tide with ease. We chose to turn around at the Rt. 349 bridge, which according to our GPS is exactly 4.0 miles from the launch. The creek narrows considerably in the upper stretches and at times it was like paddling on a calm lake, something we don’t often find on DELMARVA.
All along Wetipquin Creek songbirds serenaded us, constantly filling the air with their calls while flitting from marsh grass to marsh grass so quickly photography was difficult.
Several osprey sat in dead trees along the creek including this fellow who posed nicely for the camera. Osprey always favor dead trees, while eagles are usually spotted in a tall pine.
We saw several bald eagles which led to our most interesting observation: a fight between eagle and osprey.
As we pulled into the Wetipquin boat ramp to finish our paddle an eagle and osprey engaged in aerial combat overhead. They loudly went at each other for a good 5-10 minutes. Photographing this activity was impossible, but it was clear they did not like each other.
An excellent paddle site for a hot summer day. We will definitely return in alternate seasons and to investigate Tyaskin Creek.
Facilities: Boat ramp at Wetipquin Park . Easy kayak launching, plenty of parking and a portajohn. Slow down and enjoy the drive on Wetipquin Rd. We spotted two wild turkeys, a deer with a full rack of antlers and a possum before arriving at the ramp.
Amenities: Driving past the park on Wetipquin Rd. brings one to Tyaskin in less than a mile. There are some small restaurants in Tyaskin, otherwise one must return to Salisbury for services.