Tuesday, January 19, 2010
It is a warm day with a light gusty wind out of the east when I put in at the very northern tip of the big lake. The beach is a mess, a plastic soup that has washed ashore, the junk that finds its way into 25 square miles of lake. It takes no imagination to see why there is no swimming beach here. Three dense flocks of coots are collected not far from shore. It may be a thousand birds. A few hundred yards against the wind brings me to the mouth of the Samammish River. There is a current due to recent rain, but it is the east wind coming down the valley that is the most difficult to march against. I pass a tired looking beaver lodge and there are some mallards and geese and an occasional bufflehead in the first half mile. At the first sharp bend, seven herons overtake me, all flying together. I search the banks for animal tracks and find only one set, a soggy raccoon trail. There are clear duck, geese and heron tracks under three inches of water near shore. I turn back before another half mile, the wind not being worth the lack of wildlife. There is much open area here, but the city and the county have very different ideas of what a wildlife area is. Here, the county seemingly does nothing except post a sign, "No Admittance - Wildlife Area". So, invasive plants such as the dreaded Himalayan Blackberry have taken over, crowding out bird and animal life that should be here. The city, on the other hand, opens the areas up to people and removes the non-native species so that a richly diverse bird life scene takes place (and it doesn't seem to be bothered by a few people). Drifting back down river, I watch nine herons collect themselves in a single tree. Just about this time last year I noticed that herons would collect in groups of 15 or 20. I haven't found an explanation for this, yet.