Notes from the Island
The Potomac has been running high all month, fluctuating
between six and ten feet at the Little Falls gauge. Right now the
water level is around seven feet and dropping slowly.
The club has been closed all month. A couple of parties and
an overnight camping trip had to be cancelled. The Saturday
caretakers couldn't come down. When the Island reopens I imagine we
will be busy. Dave Holdridge, the carpentry supervisor, wants to do
an assessment of the carpentry needs; Bill Eichbaum, the house
supervisor, wants to inventory the lockers; and John Matthews and
John Wiebenson want to work on an alternative remodeling plan.
It feels as if we're caught between winter and spring. The
snow and ice are gone. The seagulls are leaving and the cormorants
are returning. Some days the temperature goes into the seventies
and some nights it drops into the twenties. The crocuses are
blooming and there are some flowers on the forsythia. The shoots of
daffodils, daylilies, trout lilies, and bluebells are poking up out of
the ground. This afternoon I saw my first spring beauties and myrtle.
Within a few weeks we should be seeing many more of the early
flowers. Let's hope the river drops and you can come over and enjoy
If we're getting tired of the flooding, I can imagine how the
beavers must feel. Yesterday I saw three tired, miserable-looking
specimens huddled on a small patch of ground that was all that
remained of their little island above Rupperts. I've been putting
chicken wire on the large trees as soon as I notice the beavers'
tooth marks, but the beavers have been taking down a number of small
saplings at the upper end of the Island, and we should probably start
thinking about some erosion control techniques.
It seems early to me, but I've seen several Canada geese who
appear to be starting their nests already. Unfortunately, they nest
directly on the ground on small islands and any rise in the water
level washes their nests away. On the other hand there seem to be
no shortage of Canada geese and every spring there seem to be lots
Let's hope that the Potomac drops soon and you can come
down and see the bluebells and other wildflowers.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker