Saturday, March 5, 2011

By land and by water

I set out in the south lagoon, spotting one eagle in the burial island perch before I reach the main bay and pass over the Bathtub Graveyard (thank you A for the fine name). I head for the west islands, a break-through sun behind me and a good sized flock of coots and widgeons in front. An eagle passes over to the west taking a perch 50 yards north of its mate. It is hunting time.

The north marsh

I stop briefly at the east tip of #1 island. My memory is short of the details that need to go into a new map. I need to stare at the shoreline, look at my compass and sketch a couple small islands that somehow escaped me when I surveyed this area. I definitely need the location of the diving board log, a favorite spot for ducks, where more often than not, a common merganser is king of the hill.

I meet up with the Friends of Yesler Swamp work team. A dozen of us grub out blackberries and replace them with Douglas Hawthorn and Indian Plum. Blackberries, here in the northwest, are horribly invasive and crowd out native species in no time, creating a monoculture that isn't good for anything or anyone except berry pickers. I've brought an extra lift jacket and L volunteers to go out in the canoe following the work. Volunteers deserve perks.

We start by heading across the NE lagoon for a tour of the beaver feeding ground, a small spot of well chewed trees, but we also find fresh tracks of both raccoon and beaver. Then over to the north lodge and out of the a lagoon, edging along the north marsh where we flush a heron. We have time to circle #1 island, which will show L west lodge, a very industrious group comes out of there. As we follow the shore of #1 island, it is heron spotting...there's two, no three, two more behind...they have congregated again on the west tip. I tell L to just put her paddle down and keep shooting the time we start heading back we have seen about 20 in about 150 yards. I think that it has been a pretty good half hour trip for L.

Maybe she doesn't know it, but L was connected to the marsh by land, and now she is connected to the marsh by water, because marshes are no man's land, the place where land is not land and water is not water.
It may take more trips (it certainly took me more than one), but she has seen it from both sides.

I drop L off in the NE lagoon and head back across the bay. It is warm and calm, mostly cloudy, and I can just sit in mid bay and write for awhile, the nasal wheezing of widgeons coming from all around.

the south nest and the south nest eagles

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