Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guided Trip

SC joins me this morning. It is a grey and calm day. Rain woke me early in the morning, but that has let up although the heaviness of that event remains in the air. Before we leave the house, I show SC some of my drawings and maps for the area. He is a bit a bit of a nature boy, like myself, but we will be looking at some stuff that he is not so familiar with.

We walk the Harrison portage to the big lake, and as we paddle north, I point out how the lake is 10 feet lower than it was in 1915, how the seawalls prevent good habitat from forming, and I identify the various ducks as we go. SC spends time on salt water, so the fresh water birds are less familiar to him.

Our first stop is the Big beaver lodge. The goose nest looks great. We push back into the edge of the beaver forest behind the lodge. SC is quite verbal, so I know how much he is enjoying this. I point out how every bit of wood has beaver teeth marks. We find a branch with a crop of false pixie cup (lichen). This is a great trip going on here for sure.

The floating cattail island is rearranged yet again. The small 10ft sq pad has disappeared to who knows where. I can't really tell whether the new calved island is present or not. The south island is still off 35 feet by itself. Stuff is just all pushed around, the lines are unfamiliar. If there weren't immovable landmarks here, it would be an unknown place. We explore the nooks of the east marsh. I show him the redwing blackbird nest that survived the winter, the beaver scent mounds in the east channel, the hidden lodge and the workbench lodge. SC has nature eyes, eyes that spot things moving, trained eyes through experience, and now that he knows what beaver workings look like he finds them on his own.

We head up to the west lodge, checking the marsh islands as we go for new goose nests. One is on the Rockpile. Two pair of geese are still arguing over sites at Broken Island. Sc is duly impressed with the tree cuttings near the west lodge. We get out for these, they are so "textbook". Then across the north shore (where SC finds a duck nest and a scent mound that I had never noticed - #1 island) the north marsh... lots of mergansers out today...the NE lagoon. The nest there is also doing well, the goose holds still head down...come no closer.

Then, back the way we came. As we near a rental canoe, SC goes into race mode. His kayak ability translates easily into the canoe and we speed past.

We finish the trip in Portage Bay where I show off the beaver bank burrow, the other type of shelter that they build besides the more familiar lodges. And near the take out we check over the main lodge, as are a pair of nearby geese, who may decide to nest on it soon, or maybe not.

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