Barn Swallows and Bow Rudders

This morning, I went for a walk and family photoshoot on the Trolley Trail with Ben and Jen and their kids. The Trolley Trail is a favorite spot of ours, and there are two places at which it crosses open water on the salt marsh. 

So this afternoon, I decided to take the kayak and explore under the Trolley Trail for the first time.

It turns out some of the little bridges provide ideal nesting sites for cooperative Barn Swallows.

The navigation got tight at times in the inlets, and I ended up hauling out some fancy strokes like bow-ruddering to pivot the kayak around the corners in the light current produced by the outgoing tide.

This Great Egret was easy pickings once I get back to the open water. They line the edges of the inlets and occasionally pick themselves up and switch to a new, more promising fishing spot.

 

I also had an opportunity to get close to some Ospreys. It's actually hard to keep an appropriate distance in a couple of spots on the narrow, long salt marsh inlets, so I ended up quite close to this particular bird and his catfish as he was looking for a place to stop and snack near his nest.

 

At another nest, I ended up spooking the nesting bird, which I hate to do, but the inlet simply wasn't wide enough for me to get any farther away from the nest as I passed. The bird left the nest, made one territorial display circle, and returned to it, so I shot back over my shoulder as she landed again.

 

I don't typically take pictures of gulls, but I believe this one is a Great Black-backed Gull, and since it's a striking bird and a good shot, it makes the cut!

Even though I got other great shots today, my favorite is this one below, of a cooperative Barn Swallow who let me drift very, very close, to the point that I ended up shooting this at the minimum focal distance (100mm) of my lens.

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