APRIL 2004

Thursday -- April 1, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 50

There's a whole bunch of rain falling in the valley and the river is expected to rise. The island may be closed for the river cleanup on Saturday. Monday -- April 12, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 51

We're back from our adventures in Florida and we're spending our last day of spring break relaxing on the island. Compared to Florida, the island is cold and rainy and not nearly as green but we're glad to be home just the same.

Tuesday -- April 13, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.0     Water Temperature: 50

April showers bring May flowers...and a flooded river. I'm starting to wish that I was still down in sunny Florida, it feels like winter again up here.

I unloaded my van yesterday, but instead of carrying the kayaks down the hill I set up a long fixed rope with pulleys and lowered the boats down on that. It might not have been much easier (I had a little trouble setting up the rope in the pouring rain) but it was fun to watch the kayaks fly down the hill from the parkway to the bridge over the canal.

Wednesday -- April 14, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 7.6     Water Temperature: 50

I'll be busy watching the water rise today. It's not expected to get above nine feet, not a flood, but still pretty high. The crest should pass by here later today; we're already at seven and a half feet. It's gone up a foot in the last eight hours.

I saw a very interesting bird yesterday evening while I was tying down the picnic tables. It was completely white and contrasted so much with the gloomy weather that at first I didn't realize what it was. When I came to my senses I realized it was a domestic pigeon feeding along the shore of the island. It had two bands around its ankles and did not seem too afraid of me. I tried to get closer and it flew away.

Thursday -- April 15, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 8.8     Water Temperature: 48

The river will crest today. It's been slowly rising for the last three days. The high water near the canoes has helped me to clear out a lot of debris. With my waders on I was able to push all that junk down stream.

The high water has spelled bad news for one nesting pair of geese. They continue to guard their nest but the eggs are hopelessly under water.

For the third day now I've noticed this new visitor to the island, the white carrier pigeon. It spent yesterday under the shelter of the work shed. I threw some birdseed out there and saw her eating it later. I guess it was blown off course during the storm and needed to rest, but why is it still here two days later? Maybe it's some kind of omen.

Friday -- April 16, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 8.4     Water Temperature: 49

The river is slowly receding leaving a blanket of fine silt on the island. It looks like the ferry will be closed all weekend. The orientation has been rescheduled for the 2nd of May.

Tuesday -- April 20, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 60

The river has gone down now and it has left at least one pair of geese without any eggs to hatch. I found three eggs washed up on the island.

I'm making plans for the workfest and getting things ready for that. It's happening this Sunday!

Wednesday -- April 21, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 64

The warm days have brought out the leaves on the trees and we have shade again.

Thursday -- April 22, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 65

Happy Earth Day!!

Yesterday I saw the first of the new goslings,the others should all hatch in the next week or so.

I saw the carrier pigion again. This time it was up on Macarthur Blvd.

Friday -- April 23, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 68

Don't forget, we have a big workfest on the island on Sunday!

I finally saw a racoon on the island. I see their prints all the time but I had never gotten a glimps of one until I saw one climbing a tree by the captains float last night.

Wednesday -- April 21, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 64

The warm days have brought out the leaves on the trees and we have shade again.

Monday -- April 26, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 65

What a great workfest we had here yesterday! Lots of people came out and we all had a super time. We even got some work done in the process. Thanks to everyone who showed up, the island is looking much spiffier. A special thanks to the Mulusky's for bringing down all the food a providing us with a wonderful lunch.

Did you know that squirrels can swim? Maybe it's just a special adaptation for squirrels that live on Sycamore Island. I was pulling the ferry over early yesterday when I heard a splash up river. I just assumed it was a beaver making it's pressence known, especially since I could see a head sticking up out of the water swimming for the island shore. But this head was too small to be a beaver's and so I watched it as it made its way from mid-river to the shore. When it reached the shore, climbed up on the bank and shook itself off I saw the bushy tail and realized it was a squirrel! Either intensionally or by accident this squirrel fell from the sycamore branch that reaches closest to the island from the mainland and swan the rest of the way.

Tuesday -- April 27, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.0     Water Temperature: 63

It's 4:15 right now and wow is the river rising fast! It's gone up a foot and a half since I got up this moprning and it's still going up! Wednesdasy -- April 28, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 7.3     Water Temperature: 59

The swim float that we launched on Sunday was almost washed away yesterday in the rising river. I noticed it was moving downstream late yesterday and I tried some heroic moves to get it tied up but to no avail. I had to leave the rope I used attached to the float and miraculously the rope got caught on something on the bottom of the river and has kept the float from going over the dam. Right now it's half way between the foot of the island and the big warning bouys.

Thursday -- April 29, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.5     Water Temperature: 57

Tryon and I were able to paddle out and get another line tied to the swim float. It was a little scary to be out in the middle of the swollen river with the wind blowing hard and the current pushing waves over the float, especially when Tryon stepped onto the float and the front of the thing dove deep into the current. I had to step on to the float for balance and I reminded Tryon to please not let go of the canoe. Hopefully we'll be able to haul it to shore in a day or two.

Yesterday the trees on the island were full of yellow-rumped warblers, I've never seen so many at one time!

I just counted six pairs of geese on the island and yet there are no goslings. I don't understand what happened to the babies this year. Usually they are all over the island and a nuisance on the towpath, but this year, none.

Friday -- April 30, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.5     Water Temperature: 58

The big hike comes through here tomorrow. The 50th anniversary of Douglas's famous hike to save the canal. I'm excited to celebrate this historic event. Where would the club be if the canal had been turned into a highway instead of a park.

We heard a barred owl again last evening. There was one on the island the other day too, making it's "who cooks for you" call with a response coming from somewhere on the other side of the river. I was lucky enough to get a good look at this large bird as it perched in a tree, in broad daylight.