Monday, June 1, 2009

Late Afternoon Paddle on the Nashua River Yields Lots of Wildlife

Posted by Doug
After the thunderstorms rolled by on Sunday and the sun came back out, I found myself wondering why I was still inside watching TV. Even though it was later in the afternoon, I decided that I wanted to be on the water. I hastily got my things together (less the camera --that turned out to be a mistake) and headed for the Nashua River. Lucie and I have been talking about trying the river for some time and at less than 5 miles from the house, I was on the water by 5:00 p.m. The boat launch allows you to access the river from Stellos Stadium and paddle all the way to Runnells Bridge in Hollis.

Using my keen navigational skills, I decided to go to the left from the put-in and paddle upstream. (This was not a hard choice seeing that if I went right I would go over a dam onto the rocks below). It only took about 10 minutes before I saw the first wildlife of the day, a great white swan. A little further upstream I spotted an osprey nest with two little heads peeking over the edge; Mom was nowhere in sight but Im sure she was in the area. Shortly beyond this point I was startled when a large blue heron burst from the reeds next to my boat. I was within 15 feet of the bird and never saw it!

After getting my heart rate back to normal, I proceeded up the river for about an hour before turning around. In the short 90-minute paddle I encountered three swans, a heron, an osprey, ducks, geese, a muskrat and a beaver. I don't think I've ever seen this much wildlife in one short trip. It just goes to show that sometimes what you are looking for is right under your nose and you don't even know it. When I got home, I looked at a map of the river and determined that I only went about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up to Runnells Bridge.

There were other boats on the river but the ones I encountered were all fishing boats that were slowly trolling along with electric motors. The only time they used their large motors was to get back to the boat ramp. I'm looking forward to going back to the river and this time I'll take my camera. Oh, and Lucie too, of course!

Things to Know Before You Go: Watch for fallen tree stumps in the river.
Directions: From the north, take the Everett Turnpike to exit 5-W in Nashua to route 111. Go over the highway and turn right at the second set of lights onto Riverside Drive. Take your first left and head straight toward Stellos Stadium. When you see the Public Works garage, bear right to a dirt road and the put-in.

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