Notes from the Island
January was an unusually warm and balmy month. We did get one wet
snow and Holly and I skied through the slush down to Lock 5 and back.
Otherwise, we had mild weather.
The seagulls are wintering out on Broadwater. They float on the river
and slowly drift downstream to the dam. Then they fly up near Rupperts
Island and float back down again. One day I looked out and saw a swan
drifting with the current surrounded by hundreds of gulls.
Last year the great blue heron left for several months. It must be
difficult for them to fish once the ice starts forming. However, the
weather has been warm enough this winter that at least one heron remains.
A half dozen Canada geese are staying in the area and occasionally
they join our white domestic geese at feeding time. There are some
mallards, grebes and wood ducks which hang out in the marshes at the
northern ends of Sycamore and Rupperts. And of course there are
woodpeckers, kingfishers and starlings.
The beaver continue their devastation. They are nibbling at a tree by
the swim float, but the impressive clearcutting is taking place at the
southern tip of the Island. I think the beaver may be dragging the maple
saplings up to an island above Rupperts where they have built a lodge.
They are also constructing a nice dam in the canal between Locks 5 and 6.
Holly saw a muskrat the other day. It was sitting on a branch out in
the river. She was able to watch it for several minutes before it was
frightened by a honking goose.
The warm temperature has been pleasant. The balmy weather has put me
in the mood for Spring and wildflowers. However, I suspect we will get
some snow and ice before February is over.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker