Saturday, April 30, 2011

After the Flood

It was a beautiful day.  Comfortable temperatures, clear, azure skies, and no rain.  I first went for a bike ride, and then went for a paddle on the Otter.  With the lake at a record level, I thought it would be interesting to see what the flooding has done to the wildlife.

I decided to paddle at the mouth of the Otter and head upstream.  As you can see, the road was flooded, so I just put-in on the road and headed through the woods until I hit the river.

The flooding is extensive. If you took away the trees that line the bank, the river would look like it is at least 8 times wider.

The lake is 2 feet over flood stage.  The flooding makes the river look like a swamp.

There is a lot of debris in the river.  In one section where the river turns due north, the south-blowing winds were pushing the north-flowing debris.  The water was full of log, sticks, and plant matter.

Some animals seemed to take the flooding in stride.  The geese were about as usual...

... as were other waterfowl.

I saw a beaver lodge.  With the high water, the lodge was probably flooded.  I wondered if there were beaver around...

... and there were.  The adult beaver saw me, went into the water, and slapped its tail, moving away from the lodge while continuing to slap the water to draw me away.  I know this trick, but decided to move on anyway.

I paddled into a hidden marshy area.  I saw that the muskrat dens were flooded.  The muskrats were probably around.

Not only has the flooding displaced the beaver and muskrat, but some of the wood duck boxes were flooded.  The flooding has hit some people hard, as it has the wildlife.

The redwind blackbirds seemed oblivious to the flooding

I paddled upstream to the mouth of Dead Creek.  At this point a road comes close to the river.  I went cycling by here a few days ago.  The water is even higher.  I was able to paddle over the road to Dead Creek, and then back to the Otter.

I saw my first sandpiper.

Osprey were everywhere.  I saw at least 7 nests.  All of them had a pair of osprey in them.  Some were solitary..

 ... some were working with their mates ...

... and some were keeping an eye on me.

I also saw downy woodpeckers.

I paddled away from the river into one of the flooded areas.  I saw muskrat eating and sunning themselves.

One thing I wasn't expecting to see..., the first turtles of the season!

The flood had an immediate impact on the river.  It will be interesting to see what nature does in the next few months.


~ Regan said...

Nice, Dad! I love the snapshots you've gotten of all the wildlife, especially that scrubby old muskrat. ;) You make me want to go out and buy a canoe (or a kayak- but then, I'd also have to find a babysitter!)

Uncle Tractor said...

Bring 'little bit' with you. Mom will babysit and you and I can spend a day paddling and taking photos. That would be a highlight of the year for me!