Notes from the Island
February 1993

The winter weather continues to be mild. The spirea is budding, star of bethlehem shoots are poking out of the ground and the forsythia behind the workshop has a few yellow blossoms. Sometimes a thin layer of ice forms on the canal before melting in the afternoon sun.

Jack Colwell pointed out a pair of whistling swans floating down by the dam. Seagulls continue to bob out on Broadwater and an occasional grebe swims by diving for food. One evening I spotted two groups of Canada geese: the first was skimming the water and honking while flying upstream and a short while later the second was flying in V formation high overhead in the opposite direction.

Our bird feeders continue to attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and goldfinches. During the day woodpeckers hammer on the trees and mourning doves coo from the branches while in the evening the starlings sing high in the sycamores. Every now and then a group of crows will caw and flap and chase a hawk or an osprey from the Maryland shore to Ruppert's and then on to Virginia.

The beavers have slowed down. I still see gnawed sticks floating down the river, but the Island has not lost any trees recently. Squirrels scamper about, but I have not seen any raccoons or opossums.

On warm days insects emerge from their holes and crawl over wood or fly around in the sunlight. However, the weather is not mild enough to tempt the reptiles and amphibians from their hibernation. And no fish swim in the shallows.

Few members visit the Club in February. However, if the canal freezes, be sure to bring your ice skates. And if the weather stays balmy, come and build a fire down by the shore.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker