Notes from the Island
Despite the cool breezy weather, there are some signs of
Spring. The crocuses are up near the screen porch and Frank Davis'
fireplace. One daffodil is blooming and the forsythia has a few
yellow flowers. The spring beauties are out.
We are seeing a few more birds. A couple dozen swans
rested on Broadwater before flying upriver. And we've seen coots,
mergansers, grebes, and wood ducks. One evening at dusk I walked to
the upper end of the Island and watched cormorants circling in the
night air before landing in the branches of a large sycamore tree.
We had another flood last week. The river rose to 9-10
feet, which is just shy of the canoe shed. As the waters subsided a
flock of robins swooped down, presumably to feast on worms coming to
When you come to visit be sure to go to the upper end of
the Island to see where huge logs coming down the river toppled small
trees and then got caught and rested against large trees or just
against the bank.
I'm not sure where the beavers are living now, but they
survived the flood and continue to nibble away at saplings and the
bark of fallen trees. We've seen a couple of beavers in the middle of
the day swimming up and down the slough.
One morning I looked out my window and watched a raccoon
scamper up a large sycamore tree and disappear into a hole thirty
five feet above the ground. Now I know how they survived the flood.
Between the floods and the beavers we have lost a number of
trees in the last year, which may open up more areas to sunlight and
increased undergrowth. Also there is a strange combination of
erosion and deposits of silt and sand, which may affect the lawn and
other vegetation. It will be interesting to see what the Island looks
like by the end of the summer.
Our Sunday afternoon work parties started last weekend. The
following people came down: John and Peggy Thomson; Bill Eichbaum;
Tove, Miriam and Maddie Elfstrom; Dick and Penny Doolittle; John and
Johnny Stapko; Gerry Barton; Al Brown; Wayne Limberg; Jack Colwell; and
of course Holly Syrrakos and myself. We tore apart the tool shed,
freed the picnic tables from their places of imprisonment, cleared
piles of debris, and cleaned up trash.
Some of the remaining projects are to clean out the screen
porch and replace some of the brick, carry the picnic tables up to
higher ground, replace and repair the wooden walkway, fill in badly
eroded spots, and pick up more trash.
See you soon. Come down on Sundays, work for awhile and
appreciate the bluebells and wildflowers while you're here.
-- Peter Jones, Sycamore Island Caretaker