Monday, November 9, 2009


It's raining, solid and steady. When it rains like this, people here tell visitors that it hardly ever rains like this, but it actually rains like this quite often. S says I am crazy to go out in it, but she says that mostly because she is supposed to say that. She knows that I will find something of great value out there today. I start in the south lagoon. There are six northern shovelers nearby. They are large and pretty in coloring with an unusually big and broad bill, hence the name. By the marsh island, a hooded merganser mixes in with a few wood ducks, which is pretty normal behavior for them. I spot a heron and wonder how much harder it is to hunt with the rain disturbing the surface of the water. I the main bay, there are buffleheads and a large flock of coots. When I near the bottom of the west islands, I notice the resident bald eagle pair tag team hunting. They pause for a moment in a paper birch on one of the islands, then back out to circling and swooping at an unseen bird in the water. I stop short of my intentions, so that they can use the paper birch if need be. They catch nothing on the second try, one eagle returns to the birch and one to the dirtberg out in mid-bay. On the third attempt, the male of the pair snatches a coot from the water and flies off. The female gets nothing and will have to keep hunting. I get into the NE lagoon and smell home heating oil. The old 6 foot pipe, which is listed as an overflow pipe, has a current coming out of it. I've never seen water actually flow out of this pipe, but the recent rain has probably created an "overflow" situation. Yuck that has collected in the pipe for some time is now being flushed. I head back south across the bay. Paddling in the east channel of the burial island, I drift off, aware that I am mentally off the material observation and finally going with the canoe. Beautiful fall leaves. No one anywhere. Sound muffled by raindrops. I ease up on a heron that is sleeping in a tree, a headless form because it has tucked it's head so deeply down onto it's chest between the edges of it's wings. It stays put while I pass. Taking out now makes no sense, so I paddle on and through the cut to the new launch at the south end of Portage Bay.

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