Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Prothonotary warblers, water snakes, trucker's hitches

My days of formal schooling are long past, but I still like to learn.  In fact, I enjoy learning more without the pressure of deadlines and grades.  In prepping for our canoe trip, I thought I might need to learn a better knot.  We had previously hauled the canoe to the lake with what was basically a taut line hitch, but this trip would entail hauling the canoe for 130 miles one way.  The internet is one of the most wonderful developments for self education.  We looked up several sites describing the trucker's hitch.  I even found a music video with the singer lamenting that he had conquered all the other knots but the trucker's hitch.  I finally went with the "animated knots" site.  My only quibble is that there are gaps in the transition between steps.  I prefer the diagrams that have the arrows that point to where the rope will go next.  For example, between steps 2 and 3, I'm not sure what's happening.  I can make it look like the diagram, but I'm not sure I'm doing it the most efficient way.
Well, we didn't lose the canoe, but we did get 2 gusts of wind that shifted it way more than was good for my cardiac system.
Once on the river, I thoroughly enjoyed observing the flora and fauna.  I actually missed the swallows that were under the bridge, but the photographer from the Pee Dee Post got a few shots (images 1, 118-120).  The very cool thing about being on the river is that you can slice quietly right through the habitat.

(Caleb's pic)
There were turtles, but mostly the kayakers ahead of us spooked them.  One guy was either collecting them or knocking them off the log with his paddle.  He must have collected a few because there were a few being raced in the grass at the barbecue after the river run. 
The sight that really enthused me was the prothonotary warbler.  (We needed a zoom lens; my son shot a pic with his phone, but you can't really see any detail.)  The prothonotary warbler is the bird that did in Alger Hiss or so I'm told.  It's a fascinating story of national security, spies, and little details.
We also saw a reddish-brown colored bat.  It must have been an eastern red bat.  It is a nocturnal animal; I assume all the river runners disturbed it.
I've had to consider whether or not to post the next pictures.  I don't want to prevent anyone from participating next year.  I think the ones we saw were nonvenomous water snakes, though, so here goes.  Just look at the water surface that is dappled with sunlight and tree shadows.

What a learning experience!  It whets my appetite to go canoeing again.
P.S. Oh, I almost forgot.  We saw a gar as well.  It was probably about 2 1/2' long, maybe 3', maybe 3 1/2'...

1 comment:

  1. Glad all went well. Looks and sounds like fun. We have dabbled with the thoughts of a canoe, just never got around to doing anything about it. For the life of me, I cannot remember the great knots I DID KNOW! LOL
    YOu done well to do the trip. NEAT!