Notes from the Island
January 1995


The December weather has been very mild. The forsythia has been blooming and I've even seen an occasional periwinkle flower.

For the first time I've noticed a beaver lodge on Sycamore Island itself. If you look about 100 feet upriver of the ferry you'll see a bunch of branches and sticks in the water by the shore. This is where the beavers have been storing food for the winter at the entrance of their abode. Look again and you can see some of the stumps of trees they've chopped down (as well as trees I've put chicken wire around) and paths where they've dragged the limbs across the sand and down the bank to the river.

A few birds still remain: a handful of Canada geese, mallards and wood ducks. In the last week I've seen one great blue heron and one kingfisher and Holly has sighted grebes in the slough. The seagulls have returned for the season and they either sit out on rocks or slowly float down the river with the current. And of course, we still have plenty of woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees and titmice.

Because of the mild weather the Island has had more traffic than usual, although it never gets crowded this time of year. Many thanks to Judy Lentz and the students from the Parkmont school, who came down and picked up trash from the upper end of the Island.

Now that the temperature is dropping, it is time to wax those skis, sharpen those skates, and if the ice and snow don't materialize, then just come down, build a fire in the woodstove and enjoy winter on the Island.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker