Mud Yes Birds No

East shore of park at minus 1.2 feet tide on May 20

One of the lowest tides of the year so far exposed acres of mud flats on the North Basin in the morning of May 20. On the NOAA scale this tide rated minus 1.2 feet. Tides even lower, at minus 1.8, occurred in January, but at an hour when darkness was already falling. The levels actually seen in the North Basin don’t correspond precisely to the NOAA tables; it seemed to me that the May 20 ebb tide exposed more mud than some of the earlier lows with greater negative NOAA numbers.

In any case, what struck me as most notable about the May ebb tide was the almost total absence of birds. I saw one Mallard drake in the Schoolhouse Creek channel, and then a pair of Mallards near the west shore of the cove, but that was it. The usual egrets, absent. Marbled Godwits, none. Yellowlegs, none. Sandpipers, not a one. Where did they go?

Here’s a couple of panorama shots of the North Basin cove near the nadir of the ebb.

The sharp morning light also afforded one of the better views of the sunken wreck in the cove, about which I’ll have a historical item some time in the future. Seen from this angle, it’s clear that the wreck was a boat and not, for example, a raft or a wharf.

Wrecked boat in North Basin cove

The ebb tide also afforded a clearer view of an obstruction in the Schoolhouse Creek channel. That, also, is a boat, a small one, capsized.

Capsized small craft in Schoolhouse Creek channel
Mallard drake was only bird in sight

The NOAA tide tables predict further sharp ebb tides this year on June 4, where the water will be at minus 1.4 at 7:25 am. The next day will see a minus 1.5 at 8:10 a.m. Another 1.2 ebb will occur June 17 at 6:54 a.m.

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