MARCH 2005

Tuesday -- March 1, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 40

March has come in like a lion but not the big stormy lion the weather forecasters were calling for. It was more like a beautiful white lion. This morning all the tree branches were covered with thick wet snow and when the sun came over the hill the island looked like a crystal palace. I decided to take a few pictures and Kaylen took some pictures of me as I tried my new X-country skis. It was the first time I ever skied on the island. After taking the kids up to the bus I took a canoe out to the middle of the river to get a picture of the island covered in snow.

Tuesday -- March 8, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 45

Thanks to Tryon, my computer is up and running again and working better than ever.

Today is snowy and cold and I don't expect to see anyone today but yesterday was sunny and the warm weather brought out the people and I actually had some visitors here.

The warmer weather has also made a noticeable difference in the bird life down here. The cardinals are busy singing and I saw a bluebird, a cormorant and a yellow-rumped warbler all in one day.

Wednesday -- March 9, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 40

I thought it was safe to come out of hibernation after the warm day we had on Monday but this cold snap we're having now makes me want to stay in bed.

The club meeting is on the island tonight. I might be a little cold running the ferry but it can't be as bad as it was last night, that wind was just viscous. The ferry rope was icy like a popsicle and I had a hard time just holding on.

I made the mistake of turning on the water to the club house over the weekend and now I'm busy trying to keep the pipes from freezing. I may have to drain the system again if it doesn't warm up soon.

Right now I'm watching a doe from my window as it casually searches for something to eat. The deer seem to have made a home here but I suspect they won't hang around once the island gets busy again.

There was a different hawk on the island this morning, it was a very dark morph, unlike the red-shouldered hawks I usually see.

Thursday -- March 10, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 40

I'm so pleased with myself, I built/rebuilt the closet in the bedroom. I took out the old closet to make room for the beds and replaced it with this smaller closet. I was able to reuse the door trim and I found the doors that used to be there and rehung them as well.

There was an eagle encounter that I didn't mention. We were waiting in the parking lot on MacArthur Blvd. when the giant bird swooped down just above the trees. It was spectacular to see the eagle up close, it's bright white head and tail shining in the sun against a perfectly blue sky.

Friday -- March 11, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 40

Technically the island is closed today due to high water, but if you want to come down just give me a call. The river looks like it will crest today at about 5.3 feet.

Monday, March 14th is the eighth annual International Day of Action for Rivers. Take a stand for healthy rivers and check out International Rivers Network, there's a link to their website from our Sycamore site.

Don't forget to check out some of the great films in the D.C. Environmental Film Festival, it runs until the 20th.

I saw my first wood ducks(sometimes called summer ducks), a sure sign of spring!

Sunday -- March 13, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 41

I guess the relief caretakers were able to manage the ferry yesterday. I was a little concerned because the river was high (just under five feet) and the wind was pretty strong, making it difficult to run the ferry.

There was a flock of robins on the island. Its funny, you don't notice them all right away. First you see one on the ground digging in the leaves and then more and more of them grab your attention as they take turns throwing leaves up in the air. By the time you count them all you have two dozen robins scouring the forest floor looking for something to eat.

Monday -- March 14, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 50

The first of the blue bells are starting to poke through the soil and the daffodils are just about to bloom.

Gerry and I worked on the captains float. We have all the flotation secured to the bottom and it is ready to go back in the river.

We had a few visitors yesterday and we were all treated to good views of the eagles.

Tuesday -- March 15, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.4     Water Temperature: 50

We moved the purple-martin house, now its over by the swim float. We're hoping it will attract more birds there.

Erik from Chevy Chase Glass came down yesterday to measure for new window glass in the living room.

A mouse must have discovered the insulating properties of styrofoam. I found a trail of white chewed-up bits of the stuff leading to a kayak with teeth marks in the floatation.

Wednesday -- March 16, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 43

I saw a pied-billed grebe, it was so tiny compared to the geese swimming next it, then it dipped under water and it was gone. I saw a pair of wood ducks this morning, that's a good sign that winter is almost over.

Thursday -- March 17, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 44

It's St. Patrick's day, and besides wearing green we should all DO something green to help lighten our footprint on this fragile planet.

Drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge?!!!!! Sadly, the race to the bottom continues.

Thursday -- March 17, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 44

Friday -- March 18, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 43

There is still a chill in the air and the trees are still bare but the bluebells are sprouting and the geese are nesting so it must be spring on Sycamore island.

Saturday -- March 19, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 45

Monday -- March 21, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 47

Happy spring everyone!!

Tuesday -- March 22, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 46

There was a great blue heron on the island today, I haven't seen one of those for a while. It nice to have this familiar visitor back in the area gracing us with it's elegant shape.

I'm busy building shelves in my living room. It seems I never have enough places to put things so I decided to build some built-in shelves with the lumber I salvaged from the Sycamore Store's garage.

Wednesday -- March 23, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 50

The cormorants have started to congregate on the rocks up by Rupperts island. Could it be that they somehow sense that the northern hemisphere has now started to shift toward the sun?

John Matthews is spearheading the roofing project. He was down here with a ramp to make it easier on the ferry to get the men and materials on the island. It's great the way that Matthews is always looking out for ways to cut down on maintenance and save the club money. It was also great to hear how back in the fifties he and a partner bought the "castle" on the hill here for 85,000! It may be worth 100 times that now.

Thursday -- March 24, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.5     Water Temperature: 50

I think we needed the rain but now the river is muddy brown and speckled with styrofoam. It's sad the way the rain washes the litter from our streets and parking lots and makes the river look like a conveyor belt of trash, not to mention basketballs and tennis balls.

I biked up to Cabin John Creek yesterday, I wanted to see if an inch of rain locally would make it canoeable. The level of the creek seemed to be at the perfect height, high enough to clear all the fallen trees but low enough so you can still make it through the culvert that passes under the canal. It looked like it would be an exhilarating ride, I'll have to try it sometime.

I saw a ground hog foraging outside my window yesterday. I didn't recognize it, it seemed much smaller than one I've seen crawl under the house and it makes me worry about how many whistle pigs are actually living here.

Thursday -- March 31, 2005
Water Level at Little Falls: 9.4     Water Temperature: 48

The river has been up above five feet for over a week now and actually reached flood stage yesterday. The river is going down now but it is going to remain high for a while. I wonder if the river cleanup is going to be postponed.

This week has been spring break so I took a couple of small trips. Last weekend I spent up in Paw Paw WV We drove up to Oldtown (an old crossroads in western Md.)and crossed the potomac on a privately owned one lane toll(50 cents)bridge. The other trip I took was a 48 mile hike from Brunswick down the towpath to Sycamore Island. I took the train from Union station and started hiking from Brunswick on Monday evening and arrived home on wednesday,48 miles in 48 hours. My legs are killing me!

I have some cleaning up to do today. The flood waters left tons of mud, and the canoes and floats were knocked around a bit by the high water.

The geese have taken over the island.