Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our Day on the River

Not one frickin' bite, not even a nibble.  No ice cream cones on the way home.  Skunked.   We tossed fine-dining morsels of nightcrawlers into waters that should have been highly populated with bluegill, but all we got was snagged.

There's far too much Columbus in us to get discouraged, so we turned to Mother Nature for some backwater exploring.  C'mon, let me show you what we found....

This Blue Heron doesn't have to wait for a fish to bite.  He waits patiently for one that looks yummy, stabs it with his powerful beak and doesn't bother with chewing.  One big gulp, and the poor fish is on its way for processing.

By the time I got the camera focused, only one turtle was left on this log.  Turtles galore were out sunning themselves, but they're very skittish.  The second they'd see our boat, off they plopped back into the water.  Ker-plunk and they were gone.

See the colonies of Swallow mud nests?  As we drove our boat under the bridge, the Swallows swooped and screeched for us to get the heck out of their territory.  Interestingly, our winters take a toll on the bridges, and each spring the steel parts need to be washed to prevent corrosion.  This washing with power washers destroys the mud nests.  The State DOT now protects these nests by washing only the steel parts of the bridges, and not the concrete parts where the nests are.  That way, Swallow reproduction is protected.

Can you see where the clams have crawled in the sand?  Can you see my head?

All I could think of was a bowl of steaming hot clam chowder with puddles of butter, and my spoon ready to dip in.  But, we were good environmentalists and put the little darling back where he belonged.

Man-made wing dams, like this one, were built to divert the river's current away from the shorelines and reduce erosion.  Some are below the water and pose danger to the average boater.  The river rule is:  If you see ripples on the water surface, that's a good sign that a wing dam is lying beneath.  The best bet is to stay within the buoys in the main channel.

These beaches were empty yesterday, but every square inch will be occupied by boaters camping for the Memorial Day Weekend.  How well we remember the days of pounding tent stakes in the sand, water skiing, peeing back in the trees, and sand in the pants.

"Barge traffic on the Mississippi river represents the most efficient, most cost-effective, most environmentally sound means of transporting commodity goods from this region of the country to market."  ~Leonard Boswell

"The eyes of the dragonfly are one of the most amazing and awe inspiring sights.  Given almost 80% of the insect's brain power is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, the dragonfly symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self.  It also symbolizes a person's rising from materialism to be able to see beyond the mundane into the vastness that is really our Universe."

Was it just a coincidence that this dragonfly landed next to hubby just as we docked our boat?  or, was it Mother Nature Herself coming to thank us for taking the time to appreciate her wondrous works.  The spiritualist in me says it's the latter.  And, that makes me feel really good inside.