Monday, March 16, 2020

Social Distancing

It is a good day to be outdoors.  Last night it dipped down below freezing, but now it is sunny and the temperature is climbing into a seasonal 40 degree range.  At the put-in two guys are talking about the virus.  One guy, the one doing the talking, has a raspy hoarse voice, as if he talks alot.  With as much stealth as I can muster (with 16 feet of canoe), I sneak off to the water.
I put in at the bottom of Salmon Cove, a favorite canoe trip of mine since I moved here and "discovered" it.  The upriver side of the cove is the former site of the Yankee Nuclear power plant, which has been visibly removed.  The old site is now a no trespassing National Wildlife Refuge, so the cove has regained a reasonable sense of wildness. 

Text book beaver gnawing
 On the way in I pass a well maintained beaver lodge.  It's been here for a few years and is loarge enough that the adults must be breeding.

Bald Eagle in tree
Up ahead at the bend are about twenty Mute Swans.  After the bend I only find two more.  It has been a mild winter with few of the inland lakes and rivers freezing over for very long if at all.  I've counted over 130 swans here during normal colder winters as this area remains open year round.  

At the top of the cove where the Salmon River enters I spot an immature Bald Eagle.  It is unexpectedly calm about my presence and I get a chance to observe it from a closer than normal range.  A pair of Broad Shouldered Hawks occupy a tree top across from the Eagle.

The Leesville Dam is my turn around point and just as I am approaching, a beaver walks off the beach.  It disappears downstream as I take a short look-see above the dam.  When I return I find that the beaver has also returned to the same spot where I first saw it.  Again, it slips into the water and swims back and forth.  With poor eyesight, beaver rely on motion or smell to determine whether something is a threat.  I cross the river and sit in an eddy and the beaver returns to the same spot again to sun itself and groom.  Time for me to go.

Just before exiting the river and entering the cove I spot two, then a third, then a fourth - immature Bald Eagles.

On the last stretch, I find a flock of swallows.  They must be migrating.  They weren't here when I went in and they aren't actively feeding.  In fact, when they leave their perch high in a overhanging tree, they spend most of their energy chasing each other.

No comments: