Paddled the 361-acre upper basin of the Moodus Reservoir in East Haddam this morning. It was one of the few bodies of water of any substantial size in Connecticut that I had not previously explored. Needed to see this lake.
The upper basin is fairly extensively developed on its western shore, where there is a state boat launch, but otherwise is largely forested. Large parts of it are quite shallow with abundant aquatic vegetation, including pond lily, fanwort, and bladderworts. Once away from the clustered shorefront homes, the upper basin is mostly woods and water, a home or farm here and there breaking up the shoreline. As you might expect with a man-made body of water – there is a dam at one end of the smaller lower basin – the shoreline is jagged, one cove after another, at times giving a paddler the sense that civilization is farther away than it really is.
On a gorgeous weekday morning, close to 60 degrees when I arrived at 8 a.m., the lake was calm and quiet. This lake is a hugely popular spot for anglers, holding sizable largemouth bass, and weekends can be quite busy, from what I have read. But only a few fishermen were on the lake while I paddled, and they could not have been more quiet.
So, I had a peaceful, most pleasant time paddling, working my way among the coves, a virtual meditation in nature. The temperature, meanwhile, rose to 70 by the time I left at 10:30, the sun shining the whole time.
Trees all over the state have been leafing out robustly in recent days. The reservoir shoreline, a mix of species with plenty of red maple and oak, was no exception. Many of the leaves are still tiny, but the shoreline is well on its way to becoming a curtain of green.
Birds were on, over and beside the water. Saw mallards, Canada geese, and wood ducks, common yellowthroat, eastern kingbird, pileated woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, red-winged blackbird, grackle, robin, Baltimore oriole, great blue heron, tree swallow, bald eagle, and kingfisher.
At the eastern end of the basin, away from homes, was a pair of bald eagles perched in a tree beside the water. No sooner did I lift my camera for a photo than they took off. Got a so-so photo of them in flight, a slightly better photo of one of them when it perched, solo, moments later.