Here I am inside my tent after a really long day and a short nap was all I needed. I thought I’d sleep more but it isn’t forthcoming. I look at my watch and see that the end of this very long day has many more hours. It’s only three ten pm. Makes sense. My day began in the wee hours of the morning.
The kids are having a great time. I can hear them laughing and carrying on. I don’t mind. It’s great to know that children are having fun. A group of them passes by occasionally while I write in my journal. (Lots to catch up on.) One of the leaders attempts to hush the kids as the pass by. I poke my head out, “Make all the racket you want. I love it.” And so it was. The comings and goings of kids off to explore the island and return for food and fun.
I spend time reviewing charts while writing. It’s fun to see where I’ve been and routes taken to reach destinations. I mark places on them where something of interest caught my eye and then make note of it in my journal. I return to my first camp here on Jewell Island and find a few scribbles. “Deer tracks in the Punchbowl at low tide – two sets, both female.” “Two Osprey.” Oh, yes. I saw one when entering the forest on my way to the towers. The other at the southern tip of the island. “Loons, many between Cliff and Jewell during my return trip.” “Two species of Gulls.” And of Course, the “Great Blue Heron” fishing in the Punchbowl.
There are no photos as I didn’t have the appropriate equipment. I do think it is important for you to see what my friends look like. That’s right, friends. I love them all and they each have there own unique characteristics. More importantly, they live, love, get mad, play games, eat and generally everything that we do, except for destroying their environment and ours. I’ll begin with the Osprey.
I’ve had the privilege of living in places where they abound and it’s nice to say that because like many birds, DDT nearly wiped them out. They seem to be making a pretty good come back which is good news in my book. I have two great stories of encounters with the Osprey. The first is during my first years living in Wisconsin. I discovered and fell in love with Door Country. A lot of other people enjoy the area as well and the campgrounds are full during peak vacation season. I decided to take my roommate up for a few days bringing my canoe as always (Wenonah Jensen 17′).
We established camp and slept well as usual. The next morning showed promise of a happy wonderful day. I decided we should paddle in a place away from the popular places. So the canoe was secured atop the truck, my friend was secure as well but inside the truck. I immediately headed for a road that led to the opposite side of the peninsula which is what Door County is. I found a nice wide bay to paddle into up toward the northeastern tip and drove to a spot adequate to put in. Quick work was made of that and we were off. My friend was a bit nervous as she had never been out on a large lake before. She did fine and we easily made it over moderate waves into the bay.
The first thing we noticed was an Osprey perched high on the dead branches at the top of a very tall tree. We paddled on and all the way in until the muskrat trail became too narrow for the canoe. Wow, we were in for a treat on our way back out. We barely made it to the area where the Osprey was when a large bird bombed his way down to the water and snatched a fish about twenty feet in front of us. My friend had a front row seat! The fish in the talons of this mighty hunter flashed silver-like in the sun while the Osprey flew higher on up, back to the branch. We sat still watching him eat his meal. Now, that was a fine day.
Photo credit: ghelm4747 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: keithcarver / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Door County is within the red marker and the blue dot is where we paddled and saw the Osprey
My second story occurred within Quetico Provincial Park in western Ontario Canada, just north of Minnesota’s Boundary Water Canoe Area. It is all the same watershed. I did personal guided trips up there for friends over several years. There were for four of us on this trip (I never take more than that.). We were laying over at Twin Lakes for a rest day and shelter from the rain which subsided by mid-afternoon. Steve went out in his canoe to fish and Velvet joined me in my canoe to explore the marshy areas. Deb stayed in the tent napping. At some point, Steve called out while pointing to the top of a tall Pine tree right above the tent where Deb was resting. Oh, My! We watched “Wild Kingdom” in action.
The next belonged to a Bald Eagle who had caught a fish. The guy hadn’t been there more than a few seconds when an Osprey dove on top of him. The two fought hard and without rules. The Osprey easily won the battle and the Bald Eagle flew off while the Osprey enjoyed a meal in the Eagles “living room.” Suffice it to say that the Osprey is a fierce bird, especially when it comes to fish. The only food they eat and they like it fresh. Hence, the Osprey is often referred to as The Fish Hawk.
Photo credit: Friends of Seney National Wildlife Refuge / Foter / CC BY-SA