Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We always trade swamp data

I head north off of the Harrison Portage in sun and calm weather.  Solo in my canoe, it is a dozen or so strokes on one side, then a dozen or so on the other.  The switch comes not after a count, but when it feels right.  The sound of a dozen eddies swirling and falling behind comes to one ear, then the same sound repeats to the other, only the eddies know that they are going in opposite directions.  With each switch, an arc of drops spatters the water and crosses the bow of the canoe.

An eagle perches above the first street-end park.  Goldeneyes float ahead or out in the deeper lake.  Greasy black cormorants fly past heading south down the lake.  Ten geese come by looking from a distance like more cormorants, but honking their identity.  Every so often, a spatter of drops crosses the bow of the canoe.

I circle the bay and then some, a figure 8 created by curiosity that isn't satisfied with just a circle.  Redwing blackbirds and kingfishers convince me to go to the usual marsh wren nesting sites and, each time, I find a male declaring his territory.  At #2 island, the wren is already starting a nest, pushing cattail leaves together, the foundation for the cattail fluff that will form the insulated shell. 

The water is higher than usual for this time of year.  I can once again go anywhere.  I visit the big dead end, I pass through the summer sneak, I take the bending cutoff through the east marsh.  It's the way that the lake should be.

The partially built and abandoned beaver lodge on Marsh Island has grown. New beaver, recently kicked out of nearby lodges (they do that each year) have moved in.  They will need luck if they are to stay.  The lodge is very close to and in the territory of the Workbench Lodge.

I stop and talk to 3-Stars just before ending the trip.  It has been a rough last week in the marsh with all the bad weather, but he is well.  We trade our swamp data, as usual.

No comments: