Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The First Hatch

I stroll the Harrison portage to the big lake. For some reason, it seems a leisurely and casual walk and I savor whatever it is that is in today's air. My conversations along the way are brief and not much more than a nod or a greeting of just a few words.

A southeast wind blows on the big lake and I paddle north with a moderate wave and chop that comes to me behind my right shoulder. It goes well and I round Potlatch Point and move up to the big lodge to check on the goose nest. It has not yet hatched - it should be a few more days, but all is well and the female rolls her eggs while I am there. Then, I just poke around in the back corners of the east marsh. The floating island is still where it was on my last trip, sealing the west channel. I find a scent mound (beaver) in the center of the north patch, just a splatter of mud on top of a grassy hummock, but with my nose down to it, I can pick up the odor of castoreum.

I head out and around the bay, a survey to see what is changing in the May marsh. There are very few ducks left. I spot a few buffleheads, a few ringnecks, and. up north, a small flock of common mergansers. Most of the winter migrants are well off and the bay is Canada geese, and the resident ducks. When I get to the South Railroad Island, I find that the incredibly wealthy asshole that lives nearby has view pruned city property once again, in nesting season. It's not enough to have a ten million dollar property... f-ing pig.

As I enter Yesler Swamp, I find two Canada geese herding four golden goslings. This the the first hatch of the year and it was the first nest that I found. The nest looks like it was abandoned within the last day or two (once the goslings hatch, they have no use for the nest...and goose nests are pretty primitive at that). The big female bald eagle from the north nest is perched nearby.

I wonder how many eggs hatched. Anyway, those two adults are not giving the young much room.
Crossing the north shore, I find another 75 lb block of foam. As I wrestle the pig into the canoe I stand in a soup of foam pebbles that have crumbled off. This junk should be banned from use as floatation material. I dispose of it in the usual spot where the grounds keepers can get at it.

I exit at Portage Bay. Just as I come to shore, I catch a serpentine dive out of the corner of my eye. I pause, and while watching, catch a second brief serpentine dive, again out of the corner of my eye. This time I spot the bubble trail and I sit still until a small river otter pops up all too close to the canoe, as they often do. Then, it's gone. And soon, a mother duck with a large brood of ducklings takes to the water. They were most likely on shore while the otter was near, as otters do eat baby ducks.

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