Thursday, December 24, 2009
Portage Bay - no beaver tracks worth casting on the lodge. There is a mix of coots, cormorants, widgeons and a few ringnecks in the south end of the bay. The day is a light haze of high clouds with some blue sky and calm air with a temperature in the 40's. Just before entering the cut, on my way to Union Bay, I pass 3 goldeneyes (a male and 2 females). Geese are in the cut and a hooded merganser meets me at the far end. There is no boat traffic of any sort. The man sitting on the south edge of Broken Island is a heron in my binoculars. As I near, the man moves to the far side of that marshy high spot and finally, flies away. A kingfisher greets me at Birch Island. As I paddle the edge of #2 Island, I flush a snipe - then a second snipe - and as my canoe scrapes against the cattails, a high pitched squeal, a third takes to air. I cross the channel to #1 Island and a 4th snipe darts off, and they do fly like darts. A red tailed hawk sits in a birch on the north shore and I paddle away to the east. Rounding the north point, I come across a flock of 200 coots and ducks. I stop and they move off at their own leisure. I stop in the center of the north marsh to pick out some trash and slip off a log, filling one of my new rubber boots with stinky swamp water. A fifth snipe takes off. Returning, a kingfisher waits on the east point of #1 Island while a heron owns the west point, until I get too near. I retrieve a car tire from the north side of Broken Island. It is both a target of opportunity and an excuse to make the trip last 10 minutes longer. But, the best part of the trip was meeting an older woman as I portaged to the lake. She told me that she canoed as a camp guide near Lake Itasca in Minnesota. And I told her the name of the lake, Many Point, because I went to camp there also. So, we traded canoe stories, because some people find that they have a canoe in their heart.