Notes from the Island
March 1995


We did get ice and snow in February. Holly and I cross- country skied on the towpath up to Lock 8 and back. Soon afterwards the temperature dropped and the canal and river started to freeze. There were a couple of days when we could skate on the canal and walk across the slough, but unfortunately we had a few cycles of thawing and freezing, so that the ice remained in place but was not very strong.

I feed the geese every morning, but they always stay near open water, so when the river freezes over, they miss their meals and appear extra ravenous when the ice breaks up and they can swim back to the Island. Often the great blue herons disappear when ice forms, but there must have been open water nearby because I spotted a great blue heron on a rock in the Potomac a few days after the thaw.

At this moment the weather is cold and blustery and the wind has blown dead branches all over the lawn, but I am starting to see the first few signs of Spring. Yellow crocuses are blooming in a protected sunny spot by the screen porch. Common mergansers have returned to the area and congregate at the upper end of Rupperts. It seems early but some of the Canada geese even appear to be preparing to nest.

-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker