Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gray wind

Little weather fronts have been coming through over the last few days. Today it is warmer, but gray and windier than I thought it would be. I saw a golden eye duck today. They usually stay in the salt water unless it is windy. The bridge in the photo is the Aurora Bridge. It is 167 feet high. It has another name that no one in town knows or cares about. When people jump from it, they have about 2 seconds to wish they hadn't.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Breakfast is served

I thought I was going to get bright sun over a low fog today, but the fog didn't show. The day was in the 40's, sunny, and with a light breeze out of the North. Several beginning rowers were out on the lake concentrating on their form. I spotted two of the raccoons that I wrote about the other day right below the bald eagle in todays photo (the black spot in the tree above the bow of the canoe). This eagle stayed ahead of me as I paddled around the bay. By the time I reached the NE corner, I had not seen her for 10 minutes. Just as I paused for a moment, she swooped down on a lone coot (just 10 yards away) and struck it as it tried to get airborne. She wheeled quickly and grabbed the stunned duck lifting it a few feet to the shore where she took a second or two to kill it. Then the eagle flew off with the duck in her talons to a piling that was about 100 yards away. As I paddled off, she was busy defeathering her breakfast.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sometimes, I am not alone

November days like this are rare. Today we paddled the Seward Park shoreline. It is nice to be under the big trees... it gives one the feeling of being out of the city. Of note, we saw a bald eagle in the top of a high snag. It looked like a good nesting spot.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Washing Bears

The other day, just as I was putting my canoe into the water, a couple stopped and asked me what I did out in my boat. I gave them a dumb look, not because it was a dumb question, but because I didn't have an answer. I guess I get some exercise, but I know that I observe stuff. Lots of stuff and most of it is stuff that people can't see without being on the water. You learn things when you pay attention and it is usually not what you think you are learning. It was cool and cloudy today. The sky was a steely gray and the breeze put ripples on the water that turned the surface into that same steely gray. It was definitely a November day. I spotted these three raccoons on a small island as they foraged for food. They watched me as I foraged for stuff.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The View From the Canoe

Day 1 - As things stand

The lake temperature is in the lower 50's. The lake level has been dropped two feet to make room for winter rains, so some of the marsh passages are just barely deep enough to pass through. The lily pads have died back, the algae and milfoil have dropped from view. The motorboats have gone away for winter, so no more bouncing off wake echos in the cut, and no more near misses by idiots in $1,000,000 floating RV's. The ducks are in the best colors now. The buffleheads have returned from the arctic. The widgeons are back, gathered in their nervous flocks. But, the hooded mergansers and wood ducks steal the prize for decorations (at least until I get a chance to look on the salt water). As usual, there are always belted kingfishers and blue herons.

Today it was just a nice day to paddle around the bay before the rain and wind start. I spotted some more flotation foam (it's used for floating docks), but I'll retrieve that later as I have already filled up the easily available garbage cans with 3 canoe-fulls of the junk. My other big find in the junk department is tennis balls, aka dog toys. They're not biodegradable...