Hackensack River Canoe &
Tivoli North Bay
by Bob Rancan
Sunday, July 10, 2011
A beautiful day in July – sunny but not too hot and humid. On the morning high tide 14 of us in 13 boats set out to explore the freshwater Hudson River marsh at Tivoli North Bay. We put in at the back end of the marsh and the floating dock was all the way out of the mud, allowing us to line up all of the kayaks and lone canoe. There was almost no current on our winding trail out to the river and we probably passed under the narrow railroad bridge opening just after slack tide. We paddled the short distance to the protected side of Magdalen Island and landed there.
A short walk across the island brought us to its steep faced western side, where we came across a 12-14 inch long Diamondback Terrapin. The Terrapin was on top of the sheer cliff, about 15 feet above the water. Most of the group walked up to the northern end of the island but it was reported that the turtle plunged off the edge back into the water after the commotion had died down. We had lunch on the cliff and took in the great views of the high peaks of the Catskills, including Slide, Indian Head, Hunter, Plateau, Black Dome and Black Head.
The marsh was emptying as we attempted to get back in but the current was not strong enough to cause any problems. We took a roundabout way back, approaching close to a perched osprey and doubling back when we ran into low water. By the time we reached our dock, it had settled back into the mud.
It was a fine day. There were several sightings of Great Blue Herons, a Belted Kingfisher, Red Wing Blackbirds (although not the usual large numbers), some bright yellow American Goldfinches, various swallows and a quick glimpse at what could have been a Least Bittern…it seemed smaller and differently shaped than a Green Heron. The Marsh Wrens did not disappoint. Many were heard singing amongst the cattails and two or three popped up briefly to give us a look. Flat water, no rocks: regardless, I had a good time.