Notes from the Island
March 2005

I think my "fifteen minutes of fame" are now over; but being a celebrity was fun while it lasted. When Charlotte Tucker asked me for an interview, I never dreamed that I would wind up on the front page of the Bethesda Gazette. I also didnít realize how many people actually look at their Gazette (I see so many soggy ones at the bottom of driveways). Anyway, it was a nice article and I thought she did a good job of describing the Island as a friendly place. But my recent brush with stardom did not end with the Gazette. It turns out that I was also on the Montgomery County public access TV. I ran into someone at the hardware store who said they had seen me playing guitar on TV! I was surprised to learn that my face was being broadcast out across the region; but, I was glad to find out that my friendís short film (reported on in the July 2004 Islander by Morris Cobern) made it to the airwaves. This job does have its challenges: floods, winters, and now paparazzi.

This is a great time of year to explore Ruppertís Island. A short paddle upriver brings you to a place rarely visited by humans, where ancient cultures lived and fished, and where raccoons, beaver and deer live today. Now is the best time of year to go to this wild place, before the vines and weeds become impossible. I was there the other day, and noticed some potential campsites with excellent views. I also saw a deer that had recently lost its antlers and was shedding its thick winter coat. I saw many signs of a healthy beaver population and I thought this would be a great place to spend a moonlit night and watch the beaver as they do their work.

The bird life on the island is becoming very active. We have the eagles nesting across the river and the Canada Geese are busy mating and staking out their territory, which they do very loudly until late at night. Right now, Iím looking at fifteen mourning doves on the ground beneath my feeder, and thatís not an exaggeration! I heard the call of a Kingfisher for the first time in many weeks and we see hawks daily. The weather is getting warmer and it's time to get ready for another season! Iím excited about getting busy in March so weíre ready for the Workfest in April! See you there!

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker