CARETAKER'S LOG


Friday -- May 31, 2019
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 78


Wow, what a Spring it has been. So many times, if you're not careful, Spring can slip right by you and the next thing you know all of the trees are full of leaves, the birds are done singing and nesting, and the weather is hot and muggy. But not this year. This year I did all of those cool naturalist-type things that you can only do once-a-year between March first and May 31st.

I started my Spring by going to my first ever Trout unlimited meeting. There we learned all about the shad and herring migration and the Spring fishing on the Potomac. I never did catch a shad this year but on Easter Sunday I went to Pierce mill on Rock Creek and was blown away to see dozens of herring and hickory shad swimming upstream and spawning below the dam there!

The other inspiring event I went to was a talk by our local ornithologist and Club member, Bruce Beehler. His talk helped me to clue into what was happening all around us, on the Island and elsewhere, the migration of millions of tiny birds. While camping nearby at Little Bennett Park, I experienced first-hand the "fall out" of migrating birds. This is a phenomenon where hundreds of song birds descend from their lofty heights to refuel for their migration north. It was amazing to be there when, right at first light and after flying all night for hundreds of miles, the birds filled the trees of the campground and I was awakened by the overwhelming sound of bird song. While birding there we saw many colorful woodland warblers. What a treat! We also found the lesser ginseng in bloom while we were there.

Of course Spring is also about flowers, and seeing all of the Spring flowers coming up on Sycamore Island is a joyful event. But there are some flowers that don't bloom here, like the blood root. That plant I would have to seek out somewhere else. I took a hike on the Billy Goat Trail, I didn't see any blood roots there but the shad bushes were in full bloom and the trout lilies were everywhere.

Come late April, it was time to venture a little further a field to the Trillium Trail. There, along the Appalachian Trail, near Skyline Drive, the trilliums bloom by the thousands and you can walk through acres of pink and white flowers decorating the forest floor. While hiking there I found the elusive blood root, but not the lady slippers that we were hoping to see.

Near the end of Spring I went to the mountains and again experienced the overwhelming presence of song birds in the forest. While at this higher elevation I saw the remnants of a lady slipper, a kind of orchid, and I saw the first of the mountain laurels sending out their bushes full of bell-shaped flowers.

It has been an amazing Spring from the first dutchmans breeches,to the extra-showy mountain laurel. Can't wait until next Spring.

Wednesday -- May 22, 2019
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.6     Water Temperature: 70


The website was down for a few days but it seems to be working now.

Monday -- May 20, 2019
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.9     Water Temperature: 70


The ferry is open!

Wednesday -- May 15, 2019
Water Level at Little Falls: 7.0     Water Temperature: 60


The ferry is closed

The river crested at a little over seven feet. It's on its way down now but it could be Sunday before its below five feet again.

Saturday -- May 11, 2019
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.7     Water Temperature: 68


Well, we got real close to opening the ferry yesterday but alas, more rain, and the river is back up again. Ferry closed. What really sucks is that the Downriver Race is today and without the ferry it becomes a total fiasco trying to get all of the racers timed and fed. Saturday is normally my day to get away from the Island but since we told the relief caretakers to stay home, and since George will no longer be a part of this event, I decided I better stick around and represent for the Island. Sure do miss you George, but don't worry, I got the cookies and lemonade ready for the racers. I'm surprised that more of our Sycamore Islanders don't get excited about this canoe race that started a whopping, 63 years ago!

Sunday -- May 5, 2019
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.2     Water Temperature: 68


The ferry is closed. No surprise there, after that hard rain on Friday night and another hard rain last night. So sad, I was really hoping that the river would finally drop below four for a change. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Club meeting will not be held on the Island this month.

The good thing is that I was able to get Colonel Josh's double neck pedal steel guitar off of the Island on Friday before the river got too high. I was also able to bring my mainland drum kit back down to the Island.

And, I remembered to get my bicycle off of the Island while the ferry was still running. I miss my bike rides when my bike is trapped on the Island during high water.