Notes from the Island
At the beginning of November a young buck with a four point rack spent
a week on tiny Box Elder Island off the lower tip of Sycamore. I first
noticed him on a Sunday afternoon when I was canoeing. He was standing in
full view and appeared to be hurt and bleeding from the mouth. At first
I thought he had been hit by a car and had suffered internal injuries.
However, as days passed, the blood disappeared even though the deer
held its mouth open at a strange angle. Occasionally it would walk to the
water's edge and drink, but mostly the buck remained hidden behind a pile
of driftwood caught against a tree.
Thinking the animal might have trouble eating, I tried leaving hay,
corn, greens and even Wheatena near its watering place. Some of the food
disappeared, but I suspect the crows got it.
On Friday it began to rain and the Potomac started to rise. Two days
later the buck was gone and I haven't seen it since. There were deer
prints at the lower and upper ends of the Island, but I don't know if any
deer are visiting the Island regularly now.
I have heard reports that there are many deer around and that they are
acting strangely in rutting season. Someone told me a deer had been
wandering around the streets of Mohican Hills. Bob Black has reported
seeing several bucks in his backyard.
Because winter is approaching, the beavers are very active now,
chomping down trees at the lower end of Sycamore and near the swim float.
These aquatic rodents have repaired their lodge on the island above
Ruppert's, which was washed out in the last flood, and they are slowly
denuding the maple and the elm which John Stapko and company felled during
the Work Fest.
The other night while investigating a loud rustling in the leaves
outside our window, I discovered an opossum rooting for food. I stood
motionless in the shadow of the outside light and the opossum walked
within three feet of me before it sniffed in astonishment and scampered
off behind the toolshed.
I hear predictions of a cold winter, so sharpen up your ice skates and
come on down.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker