MAY 2003

Monday -- May 5, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 64

It looks like it's going to be a wet week. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Tuesday -- May 6, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 65

The blue bells are gone and we've started to cut them down to make room for ball-playing and badmitton. The good news is that they will be back again next year. We're having fun watching the baby geese, they are so puffy and cute. I was hoping that now that the eggs have hatched that the adult geese might relax a little bit, but no, their as loud and fussy as they have always been.

While all the other trees are completely full of developed leaves, the sycamores are still quite bare with their leaves just emerging now. The weeping willow we have is the last to shed it's leaves in the fall and the first to sprout new ones in the spring.

Wednesday -- May 7, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 62

For some reason there are very many carp in the canal between lock seven and lock eight. I saw them there by the dozens, floating near the surface, occasionally gulping air, then diving out of sight as I approached.

Friday -- May 9, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 65

The river is looking a little muddy after this week of rainy weather but it is not expected to rise above five feet.

I watched the gold finches feeding on the tiny seeds of the blue bells. They were able to hover low to the ground as they picked theseeds out from where the flowers used to be. I caught a titmouse flying away with an old snake skin I had outside. I guess it was possible nesting material.

Monday -- May 12, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 7.9     Water Temperature: 62

The river is rising pretty fast but it is not expected to get above flood stage down here. We've got so much water in the area now that yesterday I was forced to paddle on Catoctin Creek in Virginia because my first two choices, the North Branch of the Potomac and the Cacapon were both at hazardous levels!

One pair of wood ducks has succesfully hatched its brood and no small brood at that. I saw them by the captains float the other day, the two vigilant parents and the small army of 20 puffy chicks swimming two abreast behind them.

Wednesday -- May 14, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.4     Water Temperature: 60

The meeting will not be on the island tonight because of high water. The meeting will be held instead at Carl Linden's house in brookmont. The address is 6406 ridge drive.

Yesterday, as I looked out the window watching the wind push the silver maples side to side, flashing the silver undersides of the leaves that give the tree it's name, I realized the tree was bustling with about fifty Cedar Wax Wings. These are one of my favorite birds with their sleek feathers, black eye masks and yellow-tipped tails. They travel in these groups scouring the trees for insects or,in the winter, berries. Just below this tree, on my now flooded lawn, was a mother woodduck and her seventeen chicks. The canada geese are busy showing their offspring their new home and there are many other birds flitting around everywhere. I'm pleased with the sheer number of birds all around me.

Thursday -- May 15, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.6     Water Temperature: 58

The waters have receded and I have pushed the floats back out, returned all the canoes to their places and shoveled the mud from the dock and from the steps. The ramp to the canoe dock came apart so I was wrestling with that yesterday, in the river up to my thighs.

The last of the goslings hatched yesterday, three weeks later than the first hatchlings.

Friday -- May 16, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.3     Water Temperature: 60

The recent storm has pushed the water levels back up again. The forecast calls for the river to crest on Sunday somewhere above eight feet on the little falls gauge. Unfortunately, that means the ferry will not be operating today, tomorrow, Sunday or Monday. That also means that the canoe class scheduled for Saturday is cancelled, we may schedule another class sometime in the fall. All this water is starting to make me nervous, the ground is so saturated and the watershed so full that one more big rain could mean flood city! Yikes!

Tuesday -- May 20, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.3     Water Temperature: 57

Hard times for caretakers, rain, high water and mud, with no end in sight. Rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week which could push us into the dreaded flood stage. But if you're a paddler you shouldn't complain. This is one of the wettest springs in recent memory giving us a rare opportunity to run some of the beautiful smaller streams in the area. I was able to run Rock Creek on friday evening. The first mile below Military road was a rip snortin' ride down six class-three rapids! Serious white-water right here in D.C.!

The Carolina Wrens are back on the island. It's great to hear their loud, trumpeting call once again.

Wednesday -- May 21, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.4     Water Temperature: 57

I got the lawnmower out yesterday. Luckily I was able to cut the whole lawn before the rains started. I also spent some time pulling up kudsu. It's easy to spot now before all the other plants fill in and the recent flooding exposed a lot of the root systems, so I feel like I made a dent in the kudsu problem. I've also been pulling all the mustard garlic I see. The jewel weed is everywhere now as well as the stinging nettles.

There were two scarlet tanangers outside my window the other day and I've also seen common yellow throat warblers. There also seems to be a new inhabitant on the island. Yesterday, around 6:30, as I was putting away the lawnmower I noticed a ground hog liesurely feeding in the middle of the lawn! When it saw me it ran off. I saw signs that it may be borrowed under the mens locker room. I think it must have arrived sometime over the weekend.

Thursday -- May 22, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.2     Water Temperature: 59

The river continues to be high with a chance of flooding late friday and into the weekend. It doesn't look like there will be a big memorial day picnic on the island this year, just me and the high water.

I'm painting my kitchen today. This is a big deal since it hasn't been painted in many years. I know it hasn't been painted since the new cabinets went in and that was at least five years ago. But judging by the layered decades of wall paper I'd say this kitchen hasn't been painted in over ten years with antique wallpaper border from the fifties still adorning the walls

Friday -- May 23, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.8     Water Temperature: 59

The river is actually going down but the forecast promises more rain today and tomorrow, so by Sunday it should be on the rise again.

There are many sanderlings around the island now and there was a crow here yesterday.

Saturday -- May 24, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4     Water Temperature: 59

We didn't get the heavy rains we were expecting so the river is not going to rise significantly. It will be around five and a half feet for the next couple of days.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Wednesday -- May 28, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.4     Water Temperature: 60

Sorry about the weather and the high water, this has truely been a May to remember. I feel like I'm living in Seattle. The river is expected to go up again starting today.

I saw my new neighbor, the ground hog, again. Imagine my shock when on Sunday morning as I was going to get a paddle, there in the middle of the locker room was a ground hog just standing there looking at me. A couple of seconds went by before I could shout something, which caused it to jump back down the hole it had dug through the dirt floor of the locker room.

The snakes are out again. I've seen two eastern black rat snakes and a northern water snake.

I painted my kitchen this past weekend, and I built some cabinet doors for the shelves above my dining room table. It looks pretty good!

Friday -- May 30, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 61

The ferry will be operating today and right now the sun is shining, so come on down. It could be your only chance this month.

The rain has been very good for the plants down here and some of the jewel weed have grown to chest height already. The berry bushes are beginning to flower and so I'm hoping for some fresh berries here in a month or so. I just need to make sure I pick them before the birds do. Speaking of birds, the night hawks are out now. Every evening, just before sunset, you can spot a dozen of these jay-sized birds performing their arial stunts as they feed on the multitude of insects.

Saturday -- May 31, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 61