Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spending time with the wren

I run the Harrison Portage on a day that promises to be something like spring with a seasonally delayed warmth and a thinly filtered sun.

There is a north wind on the big lake but the waves are small, smaller than I would expect. Rounding Potlatch Point I have to fight a headwind and I think that I cannot remember ever having to fight anything here. Usually, this is a point of calm, my first spot for a short break.


A pair of rental kayaks lead me to the big lodge and while I examine the goose nest one last time, they paddle into the beaver forest. It is one of my favorite spots, so I leave it to them to explore on their own terms while I squirm into a passage farther south. I find a beaver canal heading west where I must stop, a canal for beaver but not for canoes. With the others gone, I work my way circuitously through the stumps and humps of the beaver forest. I pick up the faint smell of death, a frequent odor in the marsh, and I wonder how much this has to do with people's negative views on swamps. I eventually catch the smell full force and find a dead beaver some 20 feet upwind. I find a lot of dead beaver in the spring and I think that this might have something to do with the adolescents being kicked out of the lodge. They are territorial and all of the bay has pretty much been taken. So much of the other shorelines are sea walled that there is almost no place for them to go.

In the east marsh, the north wind has moved the floating cattail island a bit to the south and east. Now, the west channel is open again. I hang onto the island for awhile to see if it is moving, but it seems stationary, so I paddle off.

I spend some time with the male marsh wren on #2 island. He is once again singing a storm, seemingly so proud of his 6 nests.


As I head out, I hear voices. I know these people, although not by name, yet. I stop to talk. We talk about more subjects than you would imagine. I have seen M and D walking around town during the last 20 years. I have always been amazed at the sphere of peace and gracefulness that they seem to exude. It is so nice to talk at length with them. They are, pretty much, what I imagined them to be and I look forward to bumping into them again.

On the portage home, J. stops on her bike to admire and talk with me about my cart. It turns out that we have mutual friends. I think about how much I would miss if I used my car to get to the water.

2 comments:

Richard R. Powell said...

The Marsh Wren. Does he have a jubilant song like his cousin the Winter Wren? I have seen Marsh Wrens, but can't remember their songs...

Scott Schuldt said...

here's the call from the cornell web site
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Marsh_Wren/sounds

I think that the calls I hear are a bit more ray-gun like, but pretty close to the recording.

And yes, he sings like crazy all the time.