Wednesday -- February 2, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.1     Water Temperature: 32

Happy Ground Hog Day!

I heard that the ground hog did not see his shadow so we can look forward to an early spring!

The rain from last night is working its magic on the river ice and there is a chance I'll get the ferry free before the next big freeze, but for right now the ferry is still closed.

Friday -- February 4, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 39


Monday -- February 7, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 37

It is so nice to have the ferry up and running again. It just feels so luxurious now, to step onto the ferry and float across the river. It is a welcome change after the last six weeks of climbing in and out of a canoe everyday.

I saw three red-shouldered hawks yesterday. They were playing some kind of cat-and-mouse game over on Rupperts. I watched them for several minutes as they swooped from tree to tree, one after the other. I'm guessing that its mating season or maybe the parents are trying to ditch last years offspring. Sometimes its hard to get the kids to move out of the house.

I found my bird feeder broken and on the ground this morning. The pole that it was mounted on was covered in muddy raccoon paw prints so it was easy to deduce what had happened. I think the coon was able to perch itself on the top of the feeder and the old feeder could not support it and the whole thing came crashing down. I hope that raccoon learned a lesson.

Wednesday -- February 9, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.0     Water Temperature: 34

I have great news, the eagles are sitting on their nest! Apparently the eagles laid their eggs very early on the 31st of January, so they have already been sitting on the eggs for a week. This is exactly the same date that they laid their eggs last year which means the chicks or chick will hatch around the 7th of March. Of course, we don't have an "Eagle Cam" on the nest and I can't see inside the nest from the Island, but I have a spy that lives up on the hill and he reports to me when the nest is occupied, thanks Jack. If you want to see an "eagle cam" go to the link below.

Let me tell you, first hand, that deer can swim just as fast as they can run. I scared up two deer on the Island yesterday and they took off toward the bottom of the Island. I went after them, not to chase them off the Island, but just to see where they would go. Naturally, they gained a quick lead on me and they were past the canoe shed even before I got past the clubhouse. I ran the rest of the 200 yard dash and fully expected to see two little deer heads swimming off toward the mainland. Imagine my surprise when I had reached the waters edge and did not see any sign of the deer. I stood there panting, wondering what could have happened. Did they back track and hide in the weeds? I was about to turn and search the Island when the bright white, bushy tails of two deer caught my eye. They were already strutting down the towpath!

I'm giving the clubhouse floor a new coat of linseed oil this week, so make sure you wipe your feet. No mud allowed.

Monday -- February 14, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 37

What nice, spring-like weather we have for Valentine's Day, it's starting to feel like winter is coming to an end.

On Saturday, the president of The Potomac Conservancy was here and he gave the club a copy of Roy Sewells picture book, Potomac. It's a wonderful book and it has a picture of the Sycamore Island Ferry in it to, Thanks Hedrick!

I finished re-oiling the clubhouse floor. It looks pretty good and it gave me a chance to move everything around and do some spring cleaning. I hope that someday we can sand and refinish the floors in a proper way, with multiple coats of hard polyurethane. It would look so good and it would be so much easier to clean and maintain. In the mean time please try not to track in too much mud.

The Canada Geese were up all night last night, honking away. And then, this morning I found them grazing on the Island. It must be time for them to stake out their nesting sites.

Tuesday -- February 15, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 39

Well it looks like it will be above freezing for at least the next week or so and since there are only two weeks until March, I've decided to take a chance and turn on the water to the clubhouse and club bathrooms.

The wind was ferocious yesterday. One gust picked up a canoe and rolled it across the field.

Wednesday -- February 16, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 39

I turned on the water to the clubhouse but for some reason there was no water pressure in the club kitchen sink. This was perplexing and I was really at a loss as to how to go about solving this little problem. My only clue was the fact that when I opened the faucet I could hear the sound of air being sucked into the faucet. Like a straw in a glass of water I think the air pressure was holding back the water pressure. I redrained the system and tried different ways and different sequences of refilling the system in an attempt to try to get the water to work. Finally, after running up and down the stairs and turning knobs for a frustrating hour or so, I got the thing to work, yeehaww!

I saw a hermit thrush today. This is a good sign that the birds are migrating and that Spring is on the way.

Tuesday -- February 21, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 39

Our wintering ducks are becoming very scarce now. I saw a few ring-necked ducks yesterday but I think that most of the ducks and mergansers are starting to head north, back up to their breeding grounds. Another sure sign of the season is the battling of the geese as they all try to stake out the best nesting spots. Every year at this time, eight pairs of canada geese make Sycamore Island their nesting refuge and every year they make a huge raucous as they take turns chasing each other off the Island.

I have a license to kill, invasive weeds that is. I completed the three hour Weed Warrior training which certified me as a C&O canal Weed Warrior and enables me to help control invasive species throughout the park. I encourage everyone to consider getting involve with controlling invasive plants. They are one of the greatest threats to the beauty and diversity of our beloved park.

I would also like to encourage everyone to support Potomac River Keepers. Potomac River keeper, Inc. (PRK) is a non-profit organization that stops pollution and restores clean water in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and tributaries through enforcement and community engagement. Our goal is to spread awareness of the pollution threatening our rivers and streams, and to use all means available to make them cleaner. With that goal in mind I've decide to do an eighty mile kayak trip to raise awareness about pollution in the river. My trip will be from Sycamore Island, all the way down to St Catherine's Island in St Mary's County where there happens to be another island club like ours. I'll be doing the trip in June and I'm hoping that all you Sycamorians will support me and help me raise money for The Potomac River Keepers. I'll be doing my daily log from the field that week, so stay tuned.

Wednesday -- February 23, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.7     Water Temperature: 37

I love it when we get a light snow of one or two inches. Snow like that is perfect for preserving all the little paw prints left by my fellow Island inhabitants. Looking at all the prints yesterday gave a good idea of who, or what is living on the Island with me. Mice, raccoons, squirrels, geese, beaver, and song birds all left their impressions in the snow.

Sunday -- February 27, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.3     Water Temperature: 37

The river is going up and the ferry is closed. They are calling for more rain tomorrow and the river is forcast to go above six feet by Wednesday.