Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Someplace Different

I put in today on the NE corner of Mercer Island. I paddle south and across the half mile wide channel towards the entrance of the Mercer Slough. I haven't been here in several years. There is a lack of birds that I am not used to. The lake is deep and almost all of the shoreline is developed with houses, lawns and shrubbery - you know, non-native stuff. I notice only a few ducks until I reach the mouth of the slough. There, I see a couple herons right off. I move up the slough, still there is a lack of bird life. The shoreline is brushy, often with invasive blackberries. In fact, it is so brushy that I can not see the actual edge of the water in most places. I do see herons, maybe one every 200-300 yards and after a 1/2 mile, I see beaver sign. It could be that there is a large marsh area on both sides of the slough - the slough not being the only habitat. It could also be that there is a thin oily sheen over the entire slough, probably runoff from busy roads in the area. I do see a couple kingfishers, a stellars jay, some geese, a couple hawks and six goslings (the first I've seen this spring) and it is an enjoyable and casual paddle. Returning to the put-in I cruise the Mercer shoreline wondering at a few monstrous yachts that, ridiculously large, must be greatly enjoyed by the neighbors, blotting out the sun as they do. If someone gave me one of those, I could buy 2000+ canoes like my own. A person could run one hell of an after-school canoe program with that kind of dough. I notice a nice bronze statue of three Native Americans sandwiched between a couple massive houses - perhaps it commemorates sustainable living.

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