Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 14: Back to the Wetness

Kip, temporarily back from Montana, biked to the marsh today. He didn't ride in from Bozeman, but he did brave 60 mph gusts and Flatbush Avenue.

Icy air poured off the bay all day long. We spent most of it thigh-high in the pond trying to dodge whippings by our own streamers of snot. An angry parade of plastic bags exploded one by one from the water and latched onto my body like those spidery things from Alien. But the wind also made our work easier by pushing the debris against the culvert.

Don Riepe dropped by to pick up two of our recycled marshwood wood duck boxes. He plans to install one at Big John's Pond in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where each year a pair of wood ducks briefly stopover. Hopefully this will entice them to stay. Speaking of reclaimed wood, here's how Kip's pile has grown since he was last here.

Over the past week Drew made one appearance and we added a third feline to the visitor list, an all-black individual of unknown sex we'll call Cameron.

Also added a third species: our first marsupial.

And our first unidentified human.

High of 54, average wind NW @ 30 MPH, -1.3 low tide @ 2:38 PM, water level unrecorded.
Birds seen in marsh: black duck, mallard
Birds seen in bay: black duck, black brant
Camera trap over the past week: 5 photos of 2 cats; 2 raccoon photos; 1 possum; 1 human

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 13: Marsh Traffic

Kim Nora and I were back to hauling logs and Firestones today.

Snow covered much of the debris, but had melted sufficiently to let us clear a decent-sized area near the main channel. In this instance the before-shot actually looks prettier, but I assure you that beneath those fluffy pillows of white lurked a formidable pile of trash.

We finished the cleanup by culling good boards from the wood pile for future projects. Meanwhile, Broc cut the remaining wood duck holes and built another box. I finished the remaining two and now our first round of recycling is complete. Next project: bat houses.

It was a good week for recording the movements of marsh dwellers. The first camera trap capture was of a tomcat, who, judging by his bounteous equipage, has likely fathered half the kittens in Breezy Point. We'll call him Genghis.

The only other cat to pass by during the ten days of surveillance was a black and white specimen of questionable gender we'll call Drew. Drew entered the marsh Friday morning and left Sunday morning.

A duo of raccoons visited on three nights, arriving between 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM and lingering for an average of four hours before exiting the way they'd entered. Could they be the pair that used to squat in Tony's shop? My infrared dimming filter proved to be overkill since they tended to stick close to the wood pile. This was the only one to look at the camera.

High of 40, wind W @ 10 MPH, 3.7 high tide @ 2:16 PM, water level unrecorded; ice has pulled yard stick out. All water frozen.
Birds seen in marsh: cardinal
Birds seen in bay: black duck, American wigeon
Over 10 days 2 cats photographed 3 times total. At least 2 raccoons photographed 8 times total.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 12: Ice Boxes

The marsh is a pile of snow capped with an inch-thick glaze of shin-punishment. Twenty paces felt like twenty minutes on the Stairmaster. The main pool held me. Maybe I'll bring skates next time.

Jetty black ducks were especially skittish today, evacuating before I'd approached within 200 yards. It was probably that cackling white one who tipped them off.

The sled was useless for moving debris but great for snowplowing. After hauling out one impossible log I excavated a few pieces of plywood and headed back.

Broc, Stewart and I measured and cut wood for another three duck boxes to be assembled on the next snow day. Once built they'll be available to anyone who wants them. On that note, we're now taking orders for anything that can be constructed from recycled marsh wood. If we're to achieve our goal of recycling all of it, creativity will be of the utmost importance.

High of 31, wind NW @ 17 MPH, -.4 low tide @ 2:08 PM, water level unrecorded; ice has pulled yard stick out. All marsh frozen.
Birds: ? sparrows
Birds seen in bay: black brant, black duck, Canada geese.
No creatures camera trapped during past week.
Marsh grass and debris influx working up inlet.