High Summer

High Summer is an old term. I always take it to mean late July, early August when it is hot and the sun seems close to its zenith come midday. The days have barely begun to shorten, gardens are starting to producer summer crops like tomatoes, the eggs are hatched, the tadpoles turned to toads, the fledglings are finding their wings.


In the Seekonk River the bait fish have arrived in large numbers and the predators have followed. There are always fish in the Seekonk, it is a tidal brackish river with a fringing marsh and some forest along its shores. The northernmost extension of Narragansett Bay, its northern terminus the falls of the Blackstone in downtown Pawtucket, its mouth where it joins the Providence River between Fox and Bullocks points. But while there are always fish, finding them is usually quite a feat. The only reliable sightings are of the smallest bait fish on warm still days right along the shore. But come high summer the feeding frenzies become visible.


Sitting by the shore there were 10 to 15 reasonably large splashes every minute for more than a few minutes, interspersed with explosions of baitfish as they leap out of the water to escape the jaws of death. I am not sure what the predator was today, probably bluefish, 6 or 8 inches long mostly from the splashes i saw. Almost does not matter. What matters is that the Seekonk is still alive enough to have feeding frenzies in high summer, and that is a very good thing.


Giving further testimony to the bounty of the day as I walked upstream along the western shore towards where i sat and watched the fish feast I saw 3 or 4 Great Blue Herons winging south. Once I sat down to enjoy the fish and got situated I turned my scope to the eastern shore along the salt marsh just north of the Pawtucket/East Providence line below the mills. On the eastern shore I saw one egret and an additional 8 Great Blue Herons, the most herons I have seen in one place it quite a while.


AHH Summer.



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