JULY 2008

Tuesday-- July 8, 2008
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.2     Water Temperature: 86

All you birders out there are going to think I'm crazy, but I'm almost positive that we saw an anhinga fishing off the captains float. I knew immediately when I saw this bird on Sunday morning that it was something unusual. My first thought was, a loon, but this is the middle of summer and I don't think I'm going to see a loon or any other diving ducks. So that left the question, if it wasn't a cormorant, what was diving and coming to the surface and looking all snake-like. Answer, an anhinga. It turns out that their range has been increasing over the years. My bird book from 1980 shows anhingas venturing no further north that North Carolina, but my 2002 bird book shows them moving into the mouth of th chesapeake bay in Virginia.

Maybe I shouldn't be shocked to see an anhinga since we seem to have other birds here that I thought I'd only see in Florida. We have a pair of Great white egrets and this morning a completely white, immature little blue heron flew over me on the ferry.

The squirrels really did a lot of damage before I trapped and released them over in Virginia. Once they found out that there may be food in the club kitchen they would stop at nothing to get at it. First they destroyed my new door, then they proceed to ruin every screen in the club house in a desperate attempt to get inside. I admit, it was satisfying to catch those little varmints but I felt guilty about taking them away from their island home. I'm sorry but something drastic had to be done.

It was another record breaking weekend on the Island. Just like the metrorail, we're getting more riders than ever. One sign-in sheet can hold 32 signatures, both Saturday and Sunday we filled over two sign-in sheets.

Wednesday-- July 16, 2008
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 85

Thursday-- July 24, 2008
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 84

There was an owl above the deck the other night. I didn't see it or hear it but the next morning there was a large white stain of droppings on the porch.

More evidence of otters. I found a big pile of empty clam shells sitting on a shallow rock.

I'm not sure if it's a breeding pair but I mentioned the great egrets before and now I think that the two smaller egrets we see must be immature great egrets. It would be pretty cool to have nesting egrets up here in Maryland, but I thought they nested in colonies.

Island usage is still on the up. We filled five sign-in sheets in one week!

The latest on the construction project is that the county permit office has sent the plans back to the architect. Apparently the enlarged club room on the plans is too big and is in violation of some fire code. Now the question is, how do we revise the plans and who decides on the revisions?

I have to thank Trip Reid, he was just down here doing some yard work. He even brought down a joe-pie weed to plant at the bottom of the Island. He took a look at the devastation at the head of the Island and realized that we are going to need a large work party with a couple of chain saws if we ever want to have a trail around the Island again.

I'm going away this weekend but Drew Walsh will be watching the Island in my absence. Please help him and pitch in if you can. I think with all these new members we need to help each other and not be afraid to ask for help if we're not sure of something.

Thursday-- July 31, 2008
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.0     Water Temperature: 84

Well it is the end of July and the end of another year for me on Sycamore Island. I can't believe that it's been six years since I first drove down the towpath with my children and all my belongings. It's funny to think about how much has change in my life during that time yet Sycamore Island seems relatively the same.

I love my life here. I like living in this area, I've made many new friends (easy when you live on an island) and I'm playing more music now then I ever have. The only down side is that I am forced to take on a second job, I wish I could just work at the Island and get by.

The other great thing about living here is that now I know how to catch fish. Thanks to my instructor and awesome fishing guide George Malusky, I now actually enjoy fishing. George took me and a couple of other newbies out on the river up by Penefeild lock and we had a blast. Not only did I catch the biggest fish I've ever caught, (19" and over four lbs.!) but I caught the most fish I've ever caught as well. It was so beautiful up there and George is the perfect river host. Thanks George for an incredible day.