We kayak primarily to enjoy the beautiful natural settings available to us on the DELMARVA Peninsula. Birds are a big part of that experience and our kayaking speed is best described as bird watching optimal. We are never in a hurry to get anywhere unless a storm is coming and we’re heading for cover.
Recently we have joined up with Delmarva Birding Weekends to kayak and bird, or just bird. We learn something new every time. In between two major storms, on a beautiful fall day, we launched from Fischer Park in Laurel, DE to join Delmarva Birding Weekends on their Twilight Birds and Owl Prowl on Broad Creek. A chilly day with the leaves not quite at their fall peak the intent was to float downstream to Bethel, DE as Jim Rapp shared history about the creek and we watched for migratory and non migratory birds. Our goal was to at least hear owls hooting in the twilight.
Our previous post, Moses and the Monster on Broad Creek, shared some of the area’s history including the story of a train falling on a schooner, the infamous Patty Cannon and her gang, and of course Harriet Tubman.
The first thing we saw after launching was a beautiful Great Blue Heron. We were obviously intruding on his territory since he allowed us to get very close before flying from his hidden perch.
Not very far downstream three wood ducks flew from the shore line in front of us. The males are a gorgeous bird and I had my binoculars on them for just a second. Broad Creek is the only place we have seen a wood duck up close. The photo below is from the summer of 2020.
Multiple smaller birds flew over head. Jim identified many of these as woodpeckers, including the yellow bellied sap sucker. As dusk fell the piliated woodpeckers become more active and were easy to identify as they are larger.
And right on cue a Bald Eagle flew from the trees maintaining our record of always seeing at least one on Broad Creek while kayaking.
After turning around at Bethel (approximately 3 miles downstream) we slowly paddled back stopping often to listen to owls hooting in the distance. Seeing an owl was not to be on this trip, although they camouflage themselves so well there was probably one sitting in the trees watching us. Trivia fact – owl wings are shaped so they cut through the wind making no sound at all. This is a huge advantage to them as hunters. We leave every Delmarva Birding Weekend trip full of more information about what we see.
If the weather stays warm Broad Creek should be beautiful kayaking in the next few weeks as the colors are just changing. The cypress trees are a deep rust color this time of year before shedding their needles.
If you kayak there, or anywhere in the next few weeks, remember to dress for the water temperature and always wear your PFD.
This was Delmarva Birding Weekends last kayak trip this year but we highly recommend not only their kayaking trips but their non kayaking birding trips.
Delmarva Birding Weekends partners with Quest Adventures , Delaware Sea Grant Directions and Reimagine Laurel for their Broad Creek Tours. Quest Adventures has a self serve kayak rental facility at the Poplar Street Bridge Kayak Launch.
Roger C. Fisher Park is on 6th Street in Laurel.