Friday, May 21, 2010


We put in on Portage Bay, next to the large dead beaver that has been floating here for a week and under cool gray skies with wind that puffs and buffets, always changing speed.

I show S the beaver scent mounds along the sides of the east channel of the burial island. There are about a dozen now with several new small ones. Two of the big ones are ripe with the smell of castoreum, which we both agree smells better than a lot of perfumes that people spend money on. A few mounds have golf balls inserted in the piles (strays from a nearby driving range). Then we head into the east marsh so I can show her the marsh wren nests that I've found. The movement of the floating island surprises her, although the wind storms of the last two days haven't moved it any farther. It looks like it has found a stable position. The goose nest in this area is abandoned, one egg left unhatched, but it looks like the others did hatch. The irises are near full bloom, adding yellow to the marsh.
We paddle up the beaver canal by the 520 lodge, a place few others go and one of my favorites. It is a marsh turning to meadow, a place where the cattails have built enough ground for grass and sedge to grow with the cattails ever moving out on the border building land. The marsh protects from the wind and it is at least 10 degrees warmer here. S lays back on the thwart for a break and soaks in the warmth and life of the marsh while a wren serenades us with science fiction robot sounds from a hidden spot not far to my right. The red wing blackbirds are very aggressive today chasing all other birds, even herons.


Richard Powell said...

"Then we head into the east marsh so I can show her the marsh wren nests that I've found."

I love Marsh Wrens, but have never seen one of their nests. Where was it located?

Vivid writing, I appreciate the details...

Scott Schuldt said...

Marsh Wren nest is worked into the cattails about 3-4 feet up from the water. It's about the size of your hands cupped together. Closed top with a hole in the side - and very well camoflauged - look for clumps in the cattails. Same size as a red wing blackbird nest, except that those are open topped. I have a photo of wren nest in my May 6 post. Lots of cattail fuzz worked into the local ones -

Here's a photo of an easier one to spot -

Richard Powell said...

Cool. Thanks for the photo link. I will definitely keep an eye out for them now. I have seen Red Wing Blackbird nests -- or at least I thought they were all RWBB nests, maybe some of them were Marsh Wren nests!

I will look more closely now for where the opening is...