Friday, May 13, 2011

A river not a river

I put in on the south lagoon after a nice portage where I ran into and talked with B and E again.

But, something behind me tells me that I am on a slow moving river and not in a wetland in a bay. The scene of cattails and marsh plants and a nearly drowned birch forest is correct. The current comes from the light wind and when I sit I drift downstream watching it all pass.

I find four week-old goslings with their parents as I paddle over to the workbench lodge. The nest there is vacant and the goslings may be the result. The timing is right. The high water has taken two birch trees from the burial island. They have fallen towards the water, their rootballs pried loose from the minimal earth of the marsh. They will provide easy food for the beaver come fall and they will serve to extend the edges of the land a few inches farther into the water.

The scent of beaver castoreum is heavy in the air as I enter the east channel of the burial island. I am still 50 yards from the first scent mound. I wander the narrow passages of the east marsh, my eyes sharp for redwing blackbird and marsh wren nests, which should be starting soon. The cattails are shoulder high to me kneeling in the canoe, but it is still a green and tan mix of the old and new. I go down the long winding dead end channel, just wide enough for the canoe, and at the very end, just around the last slow bend, I find a mallard sitting on a nest.

How can one not believe in something?

I cross to the NE lagoon (Yesler Swamp), where I spot a pair of cinnamon teal.
An eagle flies by, circling once before continuing to the north nest.
A sharpshin hawk streaks by at eye level and weaves through the forest as it goes.
At the north point I find a goose nest still tended.
Thirty feet north of the nest is a large beaver scent mound.
A pair of northern shovelers is on the north side of #1 island. I thought they would all be gone by now.
I remove a 50 year old tire from the side of west keg island.

Marsh wren nest

I hear the marsh wren at the same place on #2 island as I did before. There was one nest there, but I though it to be an old one. Now I find six nests. He might need to build ten more to attract a mate. He has staked a claim right next to the beaver canal that leads into the island.

I talk with some school children as I take out. We exchange our animal sightings.

1 comment:

Kathleen Faulkner said...

'How can one not believe in something?' Exactly.