Saturday, January 8, 2011

Scenic Sunday - Duck Shooting On The Ducktrap


The Ducktrap River Delta, Lincolnville, Maine
January First



Reflections on The Ducktrap River
Buffleheads flying to the sea at the Ducktrap Delta
Buffleheads are our smallest ducks. It would have taken multitudes of them to feed a family.


Mallard hens and drakes dabbling on The Ducktrap

    This isn't really a delta, but I loved the alliteration. It is, however, the mouth of the Ducktrap River where it empties into Ducktrap Harbor on the western edge of Peneobscot Bay. The river runs through the Camden Hills State Park. Ducktrap River underwent a restoration of the waterway which was a first of its kind restoration project subsequently copied all over the world. The intent of  the restoration was to preserve the spawning grounds of threatened Atlantic Salmon. There are several famous seafood smoking companies that bear the river's name. John L. Locke wrote in 1859 [1] that the name "Ducktrap" came from a narrowing of the river below the bridge. Hunters sat in wait while others scared the ducks up. Hoards of panicking ducks flew down the river to the sea where they were ambushed and shot by the waiting hunters at the very spot you see here. 
    Whenever I travel past Camden, east along Route One, I always stop at Ducktrap hoping to find birds and I'm always rewarded. At the end of Howe Point  Road, a tiny, winding lane, is a turn around with views across the harbor to Spruce Head and Islesboro Island. Buffleheads and Mallards are abundant in the winter. I've never been there any season other than winter, because I'd rather take a bullet than travel up Route One in the summer, especially through Camden.
    It can be raw and gray on the exposed spit of land, as it was this New Year's day. But, I think it's worth it. So do other people who stop there to eat a sandwich while sitting in a pickup truck, looking out to sea. Or lovers who park there, kissing in spite of the sharp, damp wind. Every time I've been to Ducktrap there have been lovers and contractors on breaks.
    Standing in the biting wind, trying to keep my camera steady, I can almost hear the gunfire and the ducks quacking in terror, ghosts of two hundred years ago. In those days before Polar Fleece and Chinese take-out, a place like "The Ducktrap" would have meant survival. It took lucky geography like this and tough people to bring us forward generations later. Today's Mainers are still rugged people who don't mind the elements for moments of thought, affection and a great view. And some of us will endure most anything to see birds and photograph them, no sandwiches or kissing required, though they would be nice additions.

  
 

1. Locke, John L., "SKETCHES Of The HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CAMDEN, MAINE; Including Incidental References To The NEIGHBORING PLACES AND ADJACENT WATERS,"(1859) Hallowell: Masters, Smith & Company (1859), p 64

For more information on the conservation of the Ducktrap River and the Coastal Mountains Land Trust, please click on the following links.
http://www.cooperativeconservationamerica.org/viewproject.asp?pid=164
http://www.coastalmountains.org/protecting_land/active_campaigns.html#ducktrap

23 comments:

  1. I loved your pictures and while sad about all the killing it is wonderful to hear that now they are all safe. A place well worth freezing to view!
    Lunchlady 2
    January 08, 2011 08:15 PM

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  2. Great essay, and of course wonderful pictures. You also don't hear much about Locke these days, or the other political philosphers. Now it's just about politicians pushing their own limited agendas, and usually selfish ideas without any comcern for the minority.Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River.

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  3. Beautiful photos..."Poetry in Motion!" You have captured their movements. Loved the video on Ducktrap Coalition especially bringing it into the schools for the students to appreciate. Ducktrap is a tranquil place I would like to visit in the future.
    HG

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  4. Thanks Gary. I wasn't sure if anyone would even know who John L. Locke was! It's very flattering to me that you find my work interesting both the text and photos.

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  5. Carol Bass commented on your note "Scenic Sunday - Duck Shooting On The Ducktrap".
    Carol wrote: "so beautiful thank you Robin"

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  6. HG, Thanks for that. I'm pleased you found the video interesting. I thought it was very well done, way above average. Ducktrap harbor is on the way to Castine.

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  7. Hi Robin -- I enjoyed these pictures and your thoughts. I also stop here as often as I can. A somewhat dependable winter raft of Red-necked Grebes is often floating offshore (~40), though a scope can help pick them out.

    One very tiny note: I recall the name of that access road as "Howe Point," from which I have assumed that Howe Point is the name of that spit of gravel we all park on.

    It's a pretty place, and your photos capture that. I love the subtle one with the arches of the Rte 1 bridge reflected in a break in the ice. Good eye!

    Cheers,
    Craig K

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  8. Geez! I can't get anything by you guys! It is Howe Point, which I'll correct forthwith. That is the problem with an aging brain! Thanks Craig for the compliments, too.

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  9. I love your thoughts about happiness…right on! And the ducks at the mouth of the Ducktrap River. I need to figure out how to stop there as I go by sometime.

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  10. Beautiful flight shot of those buffleheads, Robin! I always appreciate appreciation of the Ducktrap. Coastal MountainsLand Trust, where I work, spearheaded the Ducktrap Coalition about 13years ago to conserve as much of the river and its watershed as wecould. To date we've protected 84% of the river and about 45% of thewatershed area as a whole, and the Land Trust is still working onprojects there. The "turnaround" you describe is actually a town-owned park where, ifyou dared venture in the summer, you'd find families hanging out onthe beach, swimming, collecting mussels, having picnics, etc. I grewup in Camden and Lincolnville, and my family has been going there foryears. The birding is much better there this time of year, however! Thanks as always for your entertaining blogs!Kristen

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  11. Thanks for that, Kristen. I was wondering just when that iniative started but had to go without that detal to 'go to press.' I can imagine how busy that spot must be in the summmer, too. YIKES!

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  12. Lovely essay to open the day with. Thanks so much Robin! Beautiful photos! Thanks, Robin, for being you and sharing your art and your words.Love,Jo

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  13. Loved the shot of the Buffleheads in flight!!

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  14. Great shots! What is in the reflections photo?
    Love the birds in flight.

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  15. Aww this is a perfect post for a cold winter day! I too love the Bufflehead shot! Maybe there were some Bufflehead ghosts flying with them...

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  16. Val, the reflection is of the bridge on Rt 1 that crosses over the river. Kind of ironic. Glad you liked the pics, thanks!

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  17. Jen, Thank you! I really love the idea of ghosts flying with the Buffleheads, too. Sounds quite poetic.

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  18. Beautiful flight photo of the Buffleheads, Robin! Enjoyed reading the essay on "Ducktrap", and the little turn-around the perfect spot for nature lovers to do take a break and get an eyeful of the water and the birds, at least now in the winter.

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  19. Thanks, Hilke. I don't think I would enjoy it anywhere near as much in the 'high season' months when it's mobbed with people. I'm guessing the opportunitic gulls and maybe a couple of mallards would be there, waiting for bread crusts to be thrown to them.

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  20. I enjoyed your Ducktrap pictures and look forward to whatever you may send in the future.

    EM

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  21. Inspiring shots of the Buffleheads as they head over the waters, cold and ready for their decent. Very interesting read. Reading past posts, you have great insight., wonderful vision. I too, can spot a diamond in the rough, so to speak. Like seeing the horizontal of the wildlife as they stand illusive in the forest. They are there, if you only observe the obvious. Love the arrowhead and your impression of where it came from. I shall return.
    BlessYourHeart

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  22. Thank You, Dar. Kind words, indeed and I do hope you will come back for future reads and views of my pit'chahs. It's wonderful to have new people become interested in my work.

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