Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Unexpected

I drop into the big lake on a sunny day that will become too warm for my northern latitude attitude. But, it is still cool.

As I work north along the shore, a large raptor comes my way. At first I think it is a osprey, but as it sweeps to my left, towards a perch in a high evergreen, I see that it is an immature bald eagle. As I watch it in the tree top, I notice a faint dark cloud on the downwind side of the very top of the tree. Insects? Then I notice that several other evergreens have faint dark clouds. The clouds are ghostly and phantom-like, ever shifting, dissolving, and reforming. It is condensation forming, rising up and downwind as the summer sun bakes the night damp from the dark green of the trees.
Coming into Union Bay, I spot an osprey, my first since the Yakima River trip. This one is particularly striking with its white parts almost pure white and its dark parts very dark.

My passage into the beaver forest stops at 50 yards today. The lake is down 2 or 3 inches and the pointed beaver stumps that I had been passing over now forbid the passing of the canoe.
The calved cattail island has once again rejoined the moving "former island". The calved section moves back and forth 20 feet or so quite often and it has never been in the same place two canoe trips in a row.

From the south lagoon, I decide to paddle along the north side of Marsh Island and I am rewarded. An otter swims toward the island, passing behind the backs of two rowers in a shell. I settle in to watch for it to surface.




otters (4) in the center of photo

Then, two large adults and five kits emerge from the grass and sedge on the shore. The adults are quite wary of my presence, heads lifted high and watching me. We all keep our distance.
Raising otter pups must be something like raising a two-year old with a drivers license.

Now, I can go.

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