Thursday, May 27, 2010

Launch of the man-made loon nest

Inspired by the Audobon Society, G. decided to build a loon nest to help the nesting pairs that come to our part of the water each spring. He consulted many websites about design, and went with a simple square version using hemlock logs, some old chicken wire left at an abandoned campsite, an old piece of plywood that he once spray painted with the words 'loon nests' to keep boaters from swamping them in years past, as well as sticks, branches and grassy soil. He also used some pieces of old fire hose to make two little slides so loon chicks can get onto and down from the platform.

This week we launched it, amid a stiff breeze from the south. We tethered one end to a concrete brick, and tied the other to the root of a half-submerged stump. It is visible from our dock, and we hope that within a couple of weeks the grass will grow up around it. Gary also added the feature of sticks as poles in the corners to keep eagles and other raptors from swooping down on the nest. A young nesting pair is in the area, and we've seen them scoping out the grass alongshore near the spot where it's tethered.

Here is a link to an amazing live webcam of a man-made nesting platform in use.  Live loon webcam in central Minnesota

Friday, May 14, 2010

Season's Beginnings

Spring arrives each year in northern Maine for me, with the occurrence of certain events. They seem to cascade all at once. It's like an orchestra gathering on a stage. Gradually, each player arrives, tunes up and warms up, and the sounds get louder and louder until the moment when the conductor raises his baton and the music begins. Well, the music has started up here, at last.

We had our inaugural fishing adventure. We went fly fishing with friends yesterday on a remote rushing river. On our way there, we stopped at a bakery in a small town near the river, in an old victorian home. After loading up on fresh bread, cookies and muffins for later, we made it to the river and picnicked on rocks near the water, then fished the rapids, hooking some bass . It was our first complete day spent outside. Fortunately, there was a fresh enough breeze to keep the black flies away.

This morning, coffee mug in hand, I sat on the porch and watched in awe as a yearling moose ambled across the 'front yard' along shore. The birds are back, singing like crazy; warblers, vireos, white throated sparrows, flycatchers and thrushes. A young pair of loons recently arrived in our waters, seem much younger and smaller than the pair that was here last year. Today, the motorboat and dock went in the water. It was warm enough to leave the windows open at the cabin all day. Our lake friends are arriving, one by one, driving hundreds and even thousands of miles to get here. And like them, the hummingbirds made it back to their summer home in the woods. Today, one of them sat for a long time drinking and drinking at the feeder. It must have been a long flight.

So the elements are here: friends, birds, moose, fish, boats, and black flies. The music of spring has begun.