Two eggs hatched in 2014. Both chicks survived, thrived and fledged, taking off in October for a few years at sea. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies has learned that loons return to places very close to where they were raised, even after all that time and having only seen home from the air once, as they were flying away.
Posts Tagged With: Loons
The geese and mergansers of Fish in a Barrel Pond begin the season with dozens of goslings and ducklings. Those numbers dwindle quickly, though, as snapping turtles, otters and mink take their toll. They rely on sheer numbers in spring to leave one or two youngsters still swimming come fall. When danger strikes they scatter, every bird for itself, and if one or two of your brothers or sisters get picked off, at least it wasn’t you.
The loons, however, lay only one egg, maybe two, with one serving as an insurance policy, should something happen to the other. Something usually does. One egg hatched this spring, one egg did not, and we were able to get to the one that didn’t before it was snatched up by an otter, mink, heron or crow.
Wrapped up in paper towels and tape, it was labeled and frozen before being picked up by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for further, um, study.
I am willing to admit that, when a man uses “finger quotes” for the fifth time, explaining why the “rules” don’t apply to him, a quick left jab to the nose may not be the best response, even if it seems perfectly appropriate at the time.
I am also willing to admit that, when on the way to stupid, pain-in-the-ass, court-ordered anger management classes, taking it out by swerving into a group of young turkeys on the shoulder of Route 5 might come across as a tad offensive to some.
I will even concede that, when a real judge suggests a little “cooling off and drying out time,” a stay at Detox Mansion might not be such a bad idea, even if it might mean doing yard work with Liza Minnelli.
Each of those statements is true but none are applicable to this season at Fish in a Barrel Pond (so far). No one has been punched in the nose (yet) or been to court and ordered into behavior modification, no turkeys were harmed in the making up of this nonsense and, I assure you, Quill Gordon’s Steel-Toed Drinking Shoes remain laced, all the way to the top.
The ice went out and the loons returned. The large black and white aquatic birds came back, too. It’s been all anglers, all the time, following pretty much the same script as every year, except for the 18 hours I spent spiraling in the vortex of airport Hell that is United Airlines in Houston, or being struck by the thought that I, of all people, could arrive late, find my way through a throng of thousands from one terminal to another in Chicago, and catch a flight with just seconds to spare while a man from (name any city) can barely find his way around an old camp in Vermont measuring 20′ x 20′.
Six times in the last 12 weeks posts have been started and not finished, leaving three people wondering what might have happened to Quill Gordon. The truth involves discussing feelings and emotions and such so, when people ask, I just let them go on thinking I’ve been raking leaves with Liza.
An entire winter’s worth of snow slowly condensed into a thick layer of ice, sitting on lake ice that formed in December. With less than a week before Opening Day, there was nothing to be done about the ice but hope it would go out in time. Meanwhile, there were camps to prepare, repair, and otherwise make ready for the upcoming season.
Woodland creatures were evicted, floors were swept, and beds were made, as if there were no ice at all (other than in the usual low spots in water lines) and, while anxious anglers left messages asking about the lake, cussing and banging gave way to sighs of relief at the sound of trickling faucets. Continue reading
Five days remain in the season at Fish in a Barrel Pond. Just one more round of making beds and folding washcloths and soon it will be six months before I again wipe the Sunday whiskers from the sinks after a bunch of fly fishers clean up for their return to what they call the “real world.” Please note the gender neutrality of that sentence.
After half a year of all anglers, all the time, my wagon is draggin’ and the purposeful stride of spring has become a shuffling autumnal amble, interrupted by the occasional hop as I hitch up my pants. Long summer twilights and the splashy rises of trout taking mayflies seem distant memories as I walk the shore this morning in cold rain, seeing only desultory slurps here and there as a few late-season midges emerge. An entire mountainside disappears as fog works its way down-slope and soon the whole valley fills in, creating for a moment the illusion of being lost in time and that the lake, the camps, and all other things in my own “real world” are nothing more than memories themselves.
That, of course, is nothing more than hogwash its own self as at that moment a terrible noise shredded the foggy mountain silence. Continue reading
A photo of a dirty bathroom floor sucked most of the funny from a recent post. The resulting flapdoodle and folderol was probably to be expected but it is interesting to note that the indignation expressed at the condition of said floor was nearly matched by the indignation expressed at its having been pointed out. But here’s the thing: This blog is dedicated to everyone who gives in to the urge to get away from it all, but it is especially dedicated to the brave souls who take care of them when they arrive and, as anyone who has had a job that included cleaning restrooms can tell you, from posh resorts to the most modest of camps, floor-dribblers aren’t the half of it.
What Would Quill Gordon Do?
When the workday is through, and he has a choice, do you suppose he would choose A):
The correct answer, of course, is “B” but sometimes it is “C” which involves falling asleep in a large, comfortable recliner like normal people.
Q & A
Question: “Quill, if I just give you some money will you take me out and show me how to fish this darn lake?”
Question: “Quill, would you like to go fishing with me?”
Answer: “Oh, yes! That would be delightful.” Continue reading
The air is warm, the water is warm, and the fishing is, well, slow. During the day the trout are hunkered down, hanging around spring holes and the feeder streams where the little dribbles of cool water still flow in (boy oh boy, do we need rain). In the evening a few small pods of fish move around, sipping mayflies and other insects blown in by the warm breeze, but a summer’s worth of fishing pressure has made sneaking up on individual fish and groups of cruisers difficult. They’ve been educated and shy away from the boat. Long, accurate, delicate casts are the only way to hook up.
I can do long, I can do accurate, and I can do delicate but all three at once is asking a bit much so I spend a fair amount of time just sitting, watching and waiting. Here’s some of what I saw on the pond two nights ago:
[This is as good a time as any to note that there are six camps scattered along the shores of Fish in a Barrel Pond, each named after one legendary fly or another. They are, in no particular order, the Parmacheene Belle, Gray Ghost, Queen of the Waters, Cahill, Coachman and Mickey Finn (an acknowledging wink to the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society’s long tradition of fiery potations and mind-numbing concoctions). The names were chosen by a specially appointed committee charged with choosing from a list of suggestions submitted by the membership.
Certain members were against naming the camps when the issue came up for a vote, not so many years ago (one camp burned to the ground without a name, way back when — see “The Conflagration at Green Damselfly Cove”) and an attempt was made to turn the decision into one the membership would regret. If they had succeeded in stacking the committee in their favor I could very well have just introduced you to the Bitch Creek Nymph, Rat Face McDougal, Quack Doctor, Golden Monkey, Cow Dung and Ethel May.]
The sounds of the loon stir something primal, deep within all of us (see “Sadly Mistaken“), or at least they used to. More and more, as phone signals and broadband coverage improve, I see people mesmerized by the little boxes they carry, looking at each other and themselves but not what’s right in front of them or yakking away about things that, when you stop to really think about them, probably don’t merit a phone call in the first place and I am a bit concerned.
Never again do I want to hear a person say, “Can’t something be done to shut those birds up? I’m trying to talk here!”
I would, however, like very much to hear, again and again, “Quill, I dropped my phone off the dock. Can you fish it out for me?” because I would say “NO! Firstly, that ain’t fishin’ and lastly, I’m glad you dropped it. Might do you some good to be bored out of your frickin’ skull for a week, you spoiled little …” Continue reading
If I were to describe to you the absolute saddest thing I have ever heard it would break your heart and ruin your week. You’d mope around the house in your slippers and robe, the furnace and your pathetic sighs the only sounds in the house other than silence. Not even I know what describing it would do to me, especially at this point in winter with February still to go, but I can imagine and no one needs to see that. Continue reading