Saturday, April 28, 2012

Canoes they have...

Canoes they have, but these are not my people.  I find a huge party of canoeists at the put-in.  There must be a dozen whitewater canoes, round and bulbous, perfect playthings for whitewater - specialty boats that aren't much good for anything else.  It's too many people for me and I load my canoe quickly and make a get-away to the north.

Red wing blackbird

Two geese are on the rockpile.  I drift on the wind for a closer look and when I look up from fetching my camera, they are in the water.  There is no nest yet and I wasn't close enough to scare a mother goose off of her eggs.  Next, I paddle the few yards north and ease my canoe into the break of Broken Island.  This is a favorite nest site and I want to be careful not to scare a goose off of a nest.  I find one sitting on a nest eying me from behind a tree.  I back away.  The mate is not anywhere in site and it occurs to me what has been going on.  Before the eggs are laid, the pair will be aggressively defensive about their nest sight with anything or anyone that comes near.  Once there are eggs, the mate keeps a distance from the nest.  His presence would signal the existence of a nest to any predator with the female pretty much forced to stay put atop of the eggs.

There are quite a few great blue herons around today.  I see a half dozen just in the short channel by the West Islands.

There is a new goose nest on the West beaver lodge.  No eggs, yet, and the pair are together on the lodge, but she will lay soon, I bet.

I see a woman and a boy out bird watching by the north point.  I pull in for a chat since they are standing about 10 feet from a beaver scent mound and almost no one ever knows what those dirt piles are.  We have a nice talk.

One of the big flat backed turtles from the north marsh (18-20 inches long)

I pass two guys fishing from $15000 of boat with a 7000 hp outboard motor as I paddle into the NE lagoon.  I flush a ringneck duck.  This year, there won't be a goose nest in the lagoon because the little island has gone awash in the high water.  But, there are about 3 dozen turtles sunning themselves on drift logs.  As I leave I spot a cinnamon teal.

There is a new goose nest on the NE corner of the #1 railroad island.  I've never seen a nest here before.

I cross the bay to check for a nest on the Big Lodge.  It was the first nest of the year last spring, but there is no nest, yet.

In the east marsh, I head down into the big dead end just to listen to redwing blackbirds, marsh wrens, and from an unknown distance, the whooping howl of the tiny pied billed grebe.  The grebes are making quite a racket today.  Few will know what that sound is.

The workbench lodge goose nest is abandoned.  The pair is not too far off.  There are no eggs in the nest.

I pass by the canoe club - it is a class - a kind of paint-by-number canoe paddling thing that I've never believed in, but then again, I'm not in the class.  It does not look like fun.

I head to Portage Bay.

1 comment:

Dan McShane said...

One can only hope someone from that class will evolve to understanding why they were interested in the water in the first place.
I will add that your pictures always bring back good memories of my own limited paddle ventures in that area as well as hope that there can be a place of wildness even in our cities.