March 2016

Thursday -- March 3, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 44

OMG, The ferry is actually going to open today! Between the ice and the flooding, the ferry has been shut down for over a month, basically since January 20th!

Yesterday must have been geese migration day. I counted over three hundred Canada geese flying high over the Island, heading directly north.

There have been some other encouraging signs that Spring is on the way. The tiny bluebells are beginning to push through muddy ground and I saw my first wood ducks and cormorants this week. It's hard to imagine right now, but in about a month the Island will be covered in bluebells and the trees will be full of budding leaves.

It's been quiet down here but I've been keeping busy. I've been working hard at eradicating some early invasive weeds and vines. The last flood brought a lot of trash with it so that's been a job. The storms littered the Island with sticks and branches, so I've been doing a bit of raking too. There were a couple of days that were even warm enough to do some exterior painting.

No luck finding any arrow heads.

Monday -- March 7, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 44

Well it looks like it's safe to open the valves and send the water over to the clubhouse kitchen and bathrooms. They say it' going to be 70 degrees this week, so I guess the danger of the pipes freezing has passed.

Spring is coming! The red-winged blackbirds have arrived and I saw a bluebird too. The spring beauties are blooming near the screen porch and the trees are starting to bud. It's almost time to go down to Fletcher's Boathouse and do some shad fishing!

I want to tell everyone about the great work of our local environmental group, The Little Falls Watershed Alliance. I attended their annual meeting yesterday and I was very impressed with all that they have accomplished. I urge all of you Sycamorians to check out their web site and to help them to improve the health of our local streams.

Thursday -- March 10, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 52

The weather is warm but remember that no one is to use the Club canoes when the river temperature is below 55. I think that by the end of today the water in the river will be warm enough to use the Club canoes.

I had to get a new answering machine/Island phone. the old phone worked but the answering machine developed a loud humming noise that made it hard to use.

I took down the insulating walls in the Men's room so things are getting back to normal now. I also installed a new cabinet bottom to the cabinet under the Club kitchen sink. The old one was sagging from water damage. I still need to redo the shower head in the outside shower.

At the Club meeting last night there was a proposal to shift to clean energy and to get all of our power from wind and solar. I don't have all of the details right now but I think this is a great idea that fits in well with the mission of the Club.

Wednesday -- March 23, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 52

It's getting very busy down here and I don't mean members and guests on the ferry. What I'm referring to is the incredible explosion of animal and bird activity that is taking place.

The frogs are singing their chorus in the canal, The geese are laying their eggs, and the air is filled with birdsong. Blackbirds, cardinals, wrens and bluebirds, all making their voices heard. The squirrels are busy and there have been some sightings of those elusive creatures. We hear the owls at night, and we see the hawks soaring during the day. The cormorants have arrived and taken their place on top of the rocks in the middle of the river. The most exciting animal news of all is that Mary saw another fox on the Island! This one was seen in broad daylight so Mary could easily identify it as a red fox.

It's cool to think of a fox sniffing around the Island looking for rodents, but how did it get here and how long has it been around? Is it still here or did it swim away last night? Mysterious.

So far there is only one goose nest with eggs in it. There are definitely fewer nesting geese on the Island this year. The number of nests has been declining over the years but now we're down to one, maybe two. The saddest thing to see was a lone goose sitting near the bank, seemingly waiting for a partner that would never show up to mate. I guess our resident geese are reaching the point where they can no longer reproduce. There are other nests up on Ruppert's I'm sure, but this might be the end of an era. The era of geese nesting on Sycamore Island.

Speaking of goose nests. I was walking by our one successful nest when I noticed that there was one freshly laid egg sitting about six feet from the nest. It looked like it had been laid a little off target and rolled down the slope away from the nest. I risked being attacked by the protective parents but I reached down and placed the stray egg very close to the sitting hen. I didn't know what might happen so I was kind of surprised when the mother goose immediately got up and walked over to the egg and proceeded to slowly push it back into the nest. Incredible.

In the old days I might have used that egg for a nice big one-egg omelet.

Monday -- March 28, 2016
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 56

The bluebells and redbuds are reaching their peak. I predict that the bluebells will peak on April 4th. Maybe a little earlier than years past but just in time for the flower walk that is on Sunday April 3rd, 10-2. Meet at lock 7.

We have a total of two goose nests on the Island so far. There is one more pair around the Island that has yet to build a nest, we'll see.