Kayaking on the Hudson

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Duck! A kayak story

I’ve seen a lot of wildlife while out kayaking.  I’ve seen harbor seals, porpoises (porpi?, porpoisesusses?-- more than 1 porpoise), foxes, a bear swimming, bald eagles, osprey, turtles, fish and all kinds of other birds and insects.  But this encounter with a very common species just took my breath away.  

Andrea and I were on one of our many trips down the Delaware River when we came across a mama duck with 6 to 8 ducklings.  They were tiny, fuzzy little critters and it was clear they were not flying yet.  They were headed across the river; coming 90 degrees to our path.  I told Andrea to pull up her paddle so we could float past them without spooking the poor mother duck.

We drifted with the current and the ducks came right at us.  Instead of being spooked, they swam right up to us and paddled down river with us.  The little baby ducks were circling around our kayaks, jumping out of the water trying to climb up on the boats and pecking at any screw heads that looked like they might be food.  

The mother duck was not at all nervous; she just paddled along beside us with her chicks for about 5 minutes (a long time for a wildlife encounter).  Eventually, the ducks headed back toward shore.

When we stopped for lunch, we asked some canoeists if they had ever experienced anything like it, and they had never even heard of such a thing happening.  We realized how lucky we had been.  For a brief time, we had become one with nature.  Now that’s what kayaking is all about!

See you on the water,
Don Urmston

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