Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Oyster River

I wanted to share this photo with you. This is the Oyster River in Durham, New Hampshire, where I grew up - a hop skip and a jump from my parents home. As kids, once we were deemed seaworthy, we were allowed to take the family canoe or rowboat out on the river - with a buddy of course. Deep in winter, a thick layer of salty ice covers the river and mudflats, shifting with the tides.

Oyster River, at the town landing, Durham NH, December 6, 2009
I took this photo last Sunday morning after the new snow, when the sun was just coming over the treetops. That's a flock of Ring-billed Gulls in the foreground, and the dark spots on the river are mostly Canada Geese. This Oyster River of my childhood is a tidal river (there really are oysters), one of five estuaries which ebb and flow to the Piscataqua River and thence to Portsmouth Harbor and the Atlantic.

The Oyster River running through West Campus has its origin only half a mile north of campus, and follows a pretty direct north to south route. Our campus provides just about the only real woodland bordering the river, and even that is pretty sparse!

Follow Marsh Hill Road from the south end of campus towards the east (road name changes to Woodmont) and when you cross the river there, you'll see that it has entered a flat marshy plain.

Oyster River at Woodmont Road, Milford CT, December 11th, 2009
The river slows down and cuts through the
Phragmites marsh in a series of looping meanders. Farther along its course, near Anderson Avenue, the river turns 90 degrees to the east, and shortly reaches Long Island Sound, right near The Oyster River Tavern.

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