Notes from the Island
This has been a wet summer due to the daily thunderstorms
that roll through. A hard rain at the end of August caused the river
to rise to six feet and the Club was closed for two days, which is
unusual this time of year.
The precipitation has not discouraged members from coming
down and enjoying the Island. Despite the current and the silty
water, people still go swimming, and kids have more mud to play around
in. A few anglers have gone fishing, but the Potomac has been cloudy
and the pickings have been lean.
The increased rainfall has done wonders for the lawn, such
as it is, and the stands of pale yellow jewelweed, purple ironweed and
various wild sunflowers are all flourishing and growing up to six or
eight feet. The bugs have also multiplied and you might want to bring
insect repellent if you are coming in the late afternoon or evening.
We seem to have some new plants on the Island. Down by the
ferry landing there is a clump of spotted touch-me-not, or jewelweed,
with orange flowers. Although this is the most common variety, we
have not had much of it on the Island. Instead, we have tremendous
amounts of the pale yellow variety, which is thriving near the canoe
shed, workshop and volleyball court.
Some unidentified vine (which appears to be a type of morning
glory with a beautiful violet, star-shaped, funnel-like flower) has
conquered the lower tip of the Island and is now climbing the trees.
Come take a look before we have to tear it all out.
Another unidentified vine, which seems similar to kudzu but
with a small star-shaped yellowish flower, has taken over the old
chlorinator area and the wildflower garden between the swim float and
the volleyball court. The geese think it's delicious, but I suppose it
too will have to go.
Many of the late summer flowers are still blooming. Don't
miss the cardinal flowers upstream of the swim float; the garden
phlox, bouncing bet and goldenrod near the swim float; and the virgin's
bower next to the volleyball net.
I have heard reports of a juvenile night heron and a great
white egret in the area. The osprey, green heron and great blue
herons are still plentiful and the wood ducks and mallards are
returning. As the river begins to cool, the turtles and snakes come
out of hiding. John Krasny reports that, while sitting under the box
elder near the swim float, he spotted a black snake in the branches
above his head. From our window we can see what seems to be a very
long discarded snake skin hanging from a sycamore.
Many thanks to John Stapko and son for felling two dead
trees. And thanks to Al Brown who repaired the ladder on the swim
September is usually a great month on the Island. Be sure
to come down and enjoy it.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker