May 2007

Tuesday -- May 3, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 66

It's time to get out and look for all the neotropical birds that are passing through. I was at Great Falls this morning with a group led by Wendy Paulson, a renowned naturalist from New York. We saw dozens of Baltimore or northern orioles as well as dozens of orchard orioles. We also saw a northern parula warbler and heard many others.

I worked on fixing the trail lights today. They haven't worked since the last storm when a branch knocked the cable into the river. After setting up the ladder against a tree on the mainland I used a climbing knot, the prussic, to hold the cable while I cut out the damaged section. I soon ran into trouble when I tried to pull on the cable that was now partly submerged in the river. When I grabbed and pulled on the cable, the weight of it threatened to pull me off the ladder. I tied a long rope to the end of the cable and tried to pull it from the safety of the ground but there was too much friction from all the branches. The light was beginning to fade so I tied off the cable and called it a day. I'll have to work on it some more tomorrow.

Thursday -- May 5, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 66

Happy days are here again! I just helped George Malusky pull a huge 24 inch, 6 pound carp from the canal. I was cleaning up dinner just before dark when George called to ask me if I could bring him a net. He was on the towpath near the ferry with a big fish on the line and needed a net to bring it in. I ran and grabbed a big net out of Mike Grant's locker and headed for the ferry. I was greeted on the towpath by George's friend Mark and the two of us ran up river to where George was busy wrestling with his fish. I reached down to get the net in the water but the bank was high and steep and I couldn't get close to the carp. George suggested that Mark hold on to my belt while I hung way over the canal to get a better reach. We must have looked pretty funny out there, the three of us trying to out-wit a carp, but it worked and I was able to haul in George's(or should I say our) monster fish.

The birding has also been memorable as well and the trees on the island are filled with song. Last evening I saw three scarlet tanagers(or did I see the same one three times) a blue-grey gnat catcher, and a prothonotary warbler. At one point I had a baltimore oriole, an orchard oriole and a scarlet tanager all in my binoculars at once. I also had a good look at the barred owl that has been loitering here lately. It is not uncommon to hear the hoots of this bird but it was a rare thrill to stare into its huge black, marble-like eyes and know they were staring back.

Thursday -- May 8, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 66

It took ingenuity, creativity, brute strength and courage(climbing a ladder into the canopy can be dicey)but I got the trail lights working. I also managed to pull up the electric cable so that it is now high above the river.

Beautiful sunset last night. I watched it as I floated down river from above Rupperts. I guess I was sitting pretty still because a great blue heron flew by me in the twilight, passing just a foot or two from my head!

I think we may have a northern parula warbler nesting on the Island. I saw it this morning early singing from the top of the chimney of the wood stove.

Monday -- May 14, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 73

The river temperature reached close to eighty degrees over the weekend but is cooling off a bit now. The air was almost thirty degrees colder than the water this morning and surface of the river looked like the top of a cloud.

A crow just cruised through the island and I got a close look at three orioles as they ganged-up on this potential egg-eater. Cedar waxwings came through here yesterday.

I fixed the outdoor shower and I think it has already been utilized to clean up a mud worshiper or two. The swimming season has also kicked in and suddenly is a need to get the swim dock out in the water, maybe Wednesday. Call me if you'r interested, we'll probably do it around 7:00 PM if the weather is OK.

Tuesday -- May 29, 2007
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 80

It was a wonderfully busy weekend here this past Memorial Day weekend. There were campers on both Friday night and Saturday night. There was a wedding ceremony Saturday on the Captains float. We also had a steady flow of picnicers, fishermen and swimmers. The weather was perfect and most people had good views of the nesting bald eagles as I had my scope set up on the bank all weekend.