Thursday, June 23, 2022

Walls and Eagles

I set out from Pond Brook.  The weather was a southeast wind of no more than 10mph and a partly sunny sky with billowy clouds that held no threat of rain.

After getting to the main river, I noticed one of those stone walls that follows the elevation contours not far back from the water. When I first saw one of these, I assumed that it had been built to keep animals out of the river. After reading some, I found that the stone walls dated, for the most part, to the early 1800's. There was a merino sheep "boom" at that time and much of the suitable forests in the area had been clear cut for pasture.  Then, one finds out that the current shoreline dates to 1955, this being a reservoir with the original channel some 50 ft down and about a hundred yards to the east.  So, the wall paralleling the shoreline is somewhat a coincidence. I thought about this as I paddled and a bit of common sense arose.  I could be wrong, but given the choice, I would prefer to build these stone walls on the steep valley sides by tumbling and rolling rocks downhill out of the pasture to the location of the wall.  So, there might be a certain logic to building walls across the slope.  Of course, there are walls heading in all directions. One of the best ways to see this is to fly overhead on a sunny winter day when the leaves are down.  The walls stand out sharply and can be seen to form just about every possible polygonal shape.

After turning the point and heading up the Shephaug a mile or so, I made a wind check.  I had a tailwind here on the west side, so I crossed over to the east side of the river and confirmed that there was a wind shadow.  If the wind should increase, returning along the east shore will be much easier.  Then I paddled back to the "better" side of the river.

I got a "proud sighting" at a somewhat expected spot.  A good quarter mile off and some 300 feet up, I noted a white spot near a dead tree in the forest. That white was just not quite the white I'd expect in a forest. Using the zoom on my camera, I found it to be the head of a Bald Eagle.  I called it a "proud sighting" because I doubt many people would have noticed it.  In fact, I think I would have had a very hard time getting someone with me to see what I was pointing to. I'm sure there is a nest nearby, but I've never seen it.

I continue up to the cascades with little to add other than it is an exceptional day, and no one else is around. Near the cascades I retrieve three fish hooks with either bobbers or lures attached.  I turn back from the cascades.  

There was a beaver lodge and a lot of beaver gnawed trees a quarter mile below the cascades.  That activity seemed to drop off last year.  I paddled up a short inlet to and confirmed that the lodge had collapsed.

About a half mile above the point where the Housatonic and Shephaug meet, I clearly heard a few Bald Eagles calling with that hoarse whistle. It was a familiar sound that I had noted not long ago on the Lieutenant River where I observed feeding time for a pair of Eaglets.  No doubt that the Eagle nest is back in the forest here.

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