Wednesday -- October 11, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 63

I had a great time in Costa Rica, I saw a live volcano and took a safari-type boat trip up the Rio Diria, mucho beuno!

The river rose a foot and a half on Monday. It's been a long time since we've seen the river up above four feet.

There were 1000 grackles here yesterday for the annual grackle convention. Along with the grackles there were many robins and an assortment of other song birds as well. The noise outside my window was like dozens of people tapping away on strange sounding keyboards.

I saw a ruby-crowned kinglet and a yellow-rumped warbler.

Thursday -- October 12, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 63

The leaves are changing color and are starting to fall, another sign of the changing seasons is the sight of seagulls on the river.

Monday -- October 16, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 63

I saw two golden-crowned kinglets yesterday morning and as I was watching the ring-billed gulls later in the afternoon, a young bald eagle flew by.

Tuesday -- October 17, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.3     Water Temperature: 60

Thursday -- October 19, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 60

The two bridges that I walk cross everyday are excellent places to watch birds. The way these two bridges elevate you into the treetops is not unlike the canopy tours in Costa Rica. The latest treat has been the autumn passing of the cedar waxwings. I imagine that our berry bushes on this hillside are a favorite stop in the cedar waxwing migration travel guide. Of course we still have our noisy hawk making itself heard everyday and I saw a golden-crowned kinglet as well.

There will be a canoe race/regatta in Bladensburg on Saturday. I plan to go over there and show my support for all the clean-up efforts taking place on Washington's other river, the Anacostia. Anyone can participate and they even supply the boats. It starts at 9:00 and ends at noon but get there early to register, if you plan to compete.

Tuesday -- October 23, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.4     Water Temperature: 58

Someone asked me when I thought the autumn foliage might reach its peak color. I gave my best guess but realized later that it is a difficult question to answer down here along the banks of the river. First of all the north-facing bank of the river is about a week behind the Maryland or south-facing bank. We also have fewer of the more showy trees like the sugar maple or red maple. The maples we do have, the silver maples, seem to carry on with their photosynthesis until late into the season. Those trees are still very green. Meanwhile the black walnut trees have already shed their leaves and have been bare for two weeks already. The box elders and the sycamores are close behind, shedding their brown leaves without much fanfare. I don't know if this is the peak but the canopy is thinning quickly and there is a noticeable difference in the amount of sun that filters onto the trail. The river is very beautiful lined with yellow trees and highlighted with red virginia creeper and purple and white aster.

A bald eagle flew over the island on Saturday.

Friday -- October 27, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 50

The coming rains promise to muddy-up the river but right now the river is the clearest I've ever seen it. Yesterday morning, while the sun was shining, I could see the bottom of the river from all the way up on the towpath.

Tryon was down yesterday with Dave Winer, they were instaslling a new river guage here on the island.

The red-shouldered hawk was hunting in the feild here yesterday. It's funny, I don't see that bird all year but now, in the fall, I see it every other day.

Monday -- October 30, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 50

The river is at 4.14 and dropping steadily at about a tenth of a foot an hour. The river level jumped up over a foot after friday's heavy rains.

There was a group of eight buffle head ducks on the river this morning as well as cormorants, wood ducks, and canada geese. The buffle heads breed up in canada, between the Great Lakes and the Hudson Bay, and spend their winters here or further south. The wood ducks breed here and will soon head south for the winter.

I was on Assateague Island on Saturday and, among other good bird sightings, I saw two northern phalaropes sitting with a large group of semipalmated sandpipers. I've never seen or even heard of this sea bird before. They were in their white, winter plumage and on their way to the southern hemisphere.

Tuesday -- October 31, 2006
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 50

Its warm sitting in the sun but the breeze coming off of the 50-degree water feels like an air conditioner blowing.

There was a pied-billed grebe swimming by the captains float this morning.